Tips for Healthy Living: Artichokes – Take Them To Heart

Tips for Healthy Living

We’ve partnered with Dr. Doug Husbands of Holistic Health Bay Area to bring you a new set of Tips for Healthy Living. Dr. Husbands is a functional medicine doctor, clinical nutritionist, anti-aging health practitioner and doctor of chiropractic. I appreciate that he encourages visiting the doctor to focus on staying healthy instead of only visiting when you’re sick.– Carmelo Sigona

Artichokes: Take Them To Heart

By Dr. Douglas Husbands

Artichokes originated in southern Europe near the Mediterranean region.  Botanically they belong to the thistle family of Asteraceae, of the genus Cynara.

Health Benefits

High Fiber: Artichokes are a rich source of dietary fiber, providing 5.4 g per 100 g. Dietary fiber helps control constipation conditions, decrease bad or “LDL” cholesterol levels by binding to it in the intestines and helps prevent colon cancer risks by preventing toxic compounds in the food from absorption.

High Antioxidant Capacity: The antioxidant capacity for artichoke flower heads is one of the highest of all vegetables!  Anti-oxidants such as silymarin, caffeic acid and ferulic acid help body protect from harmful free-radical agents which age your cells.  It also contains adequate levels of anti-oxidant flavenoid compounds like carotene, lutein and zea-xanthin.

High Cholesterol Reduction: Scientific studies have shown that bitter principles, cynarin and sesquiterpene- lactones in artichoke extraction have overall cholesterol reduction action in the body by inhibiting its synthesis and increasing its excretion in the bile.  It inhibits the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which some of you may recognize is the enzyme cholesterol-lowering drugs inhibit to lower cholesterol.

Protects DNA: Fresh artichoke is an excellent source of vitamin folate; providing about 68 mcg per 100 g. Folate is an essential co-factor for enzymes involved in the synthesis of DNA.  Scientific studies have proven that adequate levels of folate in the diet during pre-conception period and during early pregnancy help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn baby.  Of course, being in the plant, it is in the active form of folate called L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate.  Therefore your body does not have to convert it and can readily use it.  I’ve discussed the importance of this in detail in this prior blog article.

Assists Optimal Cellular Metabolism: It is also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxal-5-phosphate), thiamin, and pantothenic acid that are essential for optimum cellular metabolic functions.

About Dr. Doug:
Dr. Douglas Husbands is a Functional Medicine Doctor, Clinical Nutritionist, Anti-Aging Health Practitioner, and Doctor of Chiropractic. As a health advocate and coach, he is dedicated to achieving optimal health through resolving the underlying disease processes through diet, nutrition and lifestyle modification. To contact Dr. Doug, call 650-394-7470 or visit http://www.HolisticHealthBayArea.com

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