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A member of the sunflower family of vegetables, the artichoke is actually a perennial thistle. First cultivated in the Mediterranean region, artichokes became scarce after the fall of the Roman Empire. They made a comeback in Italy in the 1500s, and then appeared in the Americas after introduction by French and Spanish gardeners.

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A member of the sunflower family of vegetables, the artichoke is actually a perennial thistle. First cultivated in the Mediterranean region, artichokes became scarce after the fall of the Roman Empire. They made a comeback in Italy in the 1500s, and then appeared in the Americas after introduction by French and Spanish gardeners.

Health Benefits of Artichoke

Artichokes supply 28 percent of the recommended daily value of fiber, which is important for keeping you “regular,” by helping to move material through your system. Fiber can also help lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels, prevent inflammation and protect heart health, and reduce your lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol levels. The cynarin in artichokes (note the botanical name) increases bile production in your liver, which in turn rids cholesterol from your body.

Another benefit of artichokes is the 25 percent daily requirement of vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, providing antioxidantaction to protect cells from damage from free radicals (such as air pollution), which are formed as our bodies convert food into energy. Vitamin C also supplies collagen to help wounds heal quickly and protects the body from disease by helping it absorb iron.

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