Artichokes are not often considered a superfood. Why nutritionists think they should be

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Artichokes aren’t exactly the sexiest vegetable out there. But if you take the time to get to know them (and get past the layers of inedible leaves), the nutrients in artichokes provide all kinds of gut and heart health benefits.

We usually think of artichokes when they are in Heavy retreatServed with butter sauce or stuffed with breadcrumbs. Although these classic dishes are delicious, they’re not always the healthiest options.

There are other ways to use artichokes that make better use of all the nutrients they offer, nutritionists tell TODAY.com. These fiber- and protein-packed vegetables may require some extra preparation up front, but they’ll reward you for the effort.

Artichoke nutrition facts

One Medium-sized cooked artichokes he have:

  • 64 calories

  • 3.5 grams of protein

  • 0.5 grams of fat

  • 14 grams of carbohydrates

  • 7 grams of fiber

  • 107 micrograms folic acid

You’ll find similar nutritional benefits at Canned or marinated artichoke hearts. However, the liquid or oil it is stored in may add additional calories, sodium and fat.

Benefits of artichoke

“People are very afraid of (artichokes),” Carolyn Susi, a Dallas-based registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells TODAY.com. But, if you put in a little effort, artichokes are “a great source of fiber,” Susie says, which helps with digestive health and can help manage cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

In particular, artichokes contain a type of fiber called inulin, which can relieve constipation and act as an astringent PrebioticWhich means it helps feed healthy bacteria in the gut, explains Susie. “That’s another win for artichokes: They’re a healthy choice for your gut,” says Susie.

These vegetables also provide an amazing amount of Vegetable proteinShe adds, which helps to feel full and satisfied.

Although we may not think of artichokes as having “a lot of edible parts,” New York-based registered dietitian Theresa Gentile tells TODAY.com that they also contain solid amounts of ironMagnesium, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C.

You’ll also find a huge dose of antioxidants in artichokes, says Gentile, who is also a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. particularly, Research has shown Artichokes are rich in gut-healthy polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins.

So, even though artichokes may not come to mind when we think of them Superfoods“I think they should be considered one,” she says.

What about canned or canned artichoke hearts?

Many of the nutrients found in whole artichokes are also found in artichoke hearts, including fiber, vitamins and protein.

“The profile may differ if you buy marinated artichoke hearts,” says Susie. She explains that the marinade it is mixed with can change the sodium or fat content if it contains oil.

“Obviously the sodium content is going to be a little bit higher[in canned artichokes]than fresh,” Gentile agrees. “So, like other canned foods, you can rinse them before eating them to reduce too much of the sodium solution in them.”

How to choose and cook artichokes

Susie, who cooks with artichokes frequently, has some tips for using them in meals.

First, when you buy whole artichokes at the store, look for the kind that feels a little heavier, which means it still holds water, Susie says. She also recommends choosing one with leaves that are not completely closed, but “just slightly open,” as if you were selecting flowers from a florist.

Not all parts of the artichoke are edible. to Preparing and cooking artichokesYou’ll want to trim a little of the stem and the outer “spiky” leaves, Susie recommends.

From there, she prefers to steam the artichokes. “This is the easiest way to do it,” she says. “All you need is a steamer.” You’ll need to steam the artichokes until they’re tender, about 25 minutes depending on the size, she says.

You can eat the tender heart of the artichoke, and you can scrape the fleshy ends of the leaves with your teeth – ideally dipped or dipped in a delicious sauce first.

Whether you decide to steam, boil, bake or grill artichokes, they are delicious on their own with a splash of lemon, olive oil and spices, experts say.

Here are some other great ways to eat artichokes:

Serve them with Greek yogurt dip

Susie loves eating artichokes with homemade Greek yogurt packed with delicious herbs. Try to make healthy and fresh A tzatziki-inspired dip With cucumber, garlic powder and coriander.

Add them to pasta dishes

One easy way to add more vegetables and fiber to pasta dishes is with artichoke hearts, experts say. Once the artichokes are trimmed and sliced, you can Add them directly to the pan With spices, then combine it with pasta and a little olive oil. If you prefer to steam or boil your artichokes, this works great In pasta dishes with lemon and garlicalso.

Add salads or homemade pizza with them

Artichoke hearts are an excellent and delicious addition to vegetable dishes, salads, and even homemade pizza. Registered dietitian and TODAY contributor Joy Bauer uses chopped artichoke hearts in hers Pizza salad recipe. You pile vegetables and arugula on top of a thin, crunchy lavash cookie.

Try these delicious artichoke recipes

Artichokes are an amazingly nutritious vegetable packed with fiber and protein that will keep you feeling full. Get creative with steamed or boiled whole artichokes, or add canned or canned artichoke hearts to boost the nutrients in all kinds of dishes.

Dylan’s stuffed artichokes By Dylan Dreyer

Baked egg souffle with spinach and artichoke By Casey Barber

Pasta with quickly cooked artichoke hearts By Carla Lally Music

Grilled Parmesan Artichokes By Ryan Scott

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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