Superfood Series Continued
You may have heard the term "Super food" being tossed around in some health blogs. But what exactly is a Super food? Super foods are whole foods that are not processed, so they retain more of their balanced combination of nutrients that nature gave them. These nutrients include a mix of the essentials- fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and other familiar nutrients that our bodies require to function properly and maintain good health. Super foods also include various natural plant substances called phytonutrients that play an important role in reducing health ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. The best way to capture all of these benefits is to eat a variety of whole foods. This series will help you choose which super foods you should be including in your diet. Lets get to it...
Today's Super food is Artichokes. Artichokes have a spiky green leave that protects it, making it look hard to handle. However, once you learn how to prep artichokes, you will see that the buttery taste and health benefits make it worthwhile. Artichokes are a vegetable that are high in fiber. They are also low-calorie. If you remember from prior posts, insoluble fiber is good for the digestive system. Artichokes are loaded with potassium, which are beneficial to blood pressure. Artichokes also contain a good source of folate, which is an important vitamin for women in their childbearing years because it helps prevent birth defects. Research also links long-term deficiencies of folate to an increased risk of heart disease.
Fresh artichokes can be found in the produce department in supermarkets and fruit/vegetable stores. Baby artichokes are actually side growths of the plant. Look for a soft green color and tightly packed, closed leaves. Store artichokes in a plastic bag in the refrigerator with a few drops of water to prevent them from drying out. Although best if used within a few days, they will keep fresh for a week or two if stored properly. Artichoke hearts, the vegetables meaty base, are also available canned or marinated and jarred. However, compared to the artichoke heart, the meaty leaves contain more nutrients.
To prep artichokes, wash under running water. Pull off outer, lower leaves and trim the sharp tips from the outer leaves. Boil for 20-40 minutes or steam for 25-40 minutes or until a leaf pulls out easily. Artichokes can be served hot or cold, and the leaves can be dipped in butter or squeeze a bit of lemon juice with a dash of olive oil. Well that is all for now. Hopefully you learned something new. Now go eat some artichokes. Thanks for reading and I will see you soon.