Eat more artichokes! Their leaves contain powerful compounds that protect you from diabetes
02/04/2019 // Ralph Flores // Views

People who are at risk of diabetes and other metabolic disorders would do well to add artichokes (Cynara scolymus) in their diet to lower their chances of getting the disease, according to researchers from the University of Sfax in Tunisia. In their study, which was published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the team looked at the anti-diabetes properties of artichoke leaves using alloxan-induced rat models. The researchers also designed the study to determine the antioxidant properties of the leaves, in particular, its ability to prevent free radical damage in the liver, kidney, and pancreas.

For the study, the team inoculated male Wistar rats with alloxan to mimic the effects of diabetes. The rats were then treated with an ethanol extract from artichoke leaves for a month. After the experiment was completed, tissue samples from the rats were collected for further analysis. Moreover, the physical and chemical composition of the extract was determined using multiple assays.

The results indicated that the artichoke extract was able to slow down the conversion of starch into glucose by inhibiting alpha-amylase activity. This led to significant reductions in glucose levels in the bloodstream for the rats that have been treated with the extract. In addition, the artichoke extract also regulated plasma total cholesterol, triglyceride, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels -- all of which are risk factors for metabolic syndrome. The extract also displayed significant antioxidant capability, based on increased levels of CAT, SOD, GSH in the liver, kidney, and pancreas of the treated rats.


"These observed strongly suggest that ethanol extract from the leaves of C. scolymus has anti-hyperglycemic properties, at least partly mediated by antioxidant and hypolipidemic effects," the researchers concluded in their report. (Related: Artichokes contain a variety of natural antioxidants that reduce the symptoms of diabetes.)

Artichokes are great for maintaining overall health

For the most part, artichokes aren't just for those who are at risk of diabetes. The plant provides a bevy of benefits for everyone -- from those looking to maintain their overall level of fitness to those who are just starting to get fit. Here are some health benefits that make artichokes a must in every diet.

Artichokes keep symptoms of Type 2 diabetes at bay

Fructan, a soluble fiber found in artichokes, helps keep blood sugar levels in check and prevents it from spiking -- a common complication for those with Type 2 diabetes, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The fiber also boosts the number of probiotic bacteria in the gut, which aids in proper digestion.

Artichokes are great for improving bowel movement

Aside from soluble fibers, artichokes also have insoluble fibers that allow the smooth passage of stool in the digestive system. This is beneficial for those suffering from constipation, as well as those having difficulties in their bowel movement. However, people with bowel sensitivities and disorders should seek the advice of a healthcare professional before loading up on artichokes.

Artichokes can help with weight loss

A single serving of artichoke (that's around one pound) only contains 60 calories; its fiber content, however, helps a person feel full for longer -- making it helpful for people looking to shed some weight off the scales.

Learn more foods that help prevent metabolic disorders at today.

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