I find artichokes fascinating. They are a type of thistle, and the green globes you see in the grocery store are the buds of the plant’s fringed, purple flower. I’d love to see one in bloom, but artichokes prefer cool climates. So I doubt I will ever be able to grow one in my Florida garden.
But I can find artichokes year-round in my local grocery store, and those grown in California have peak seasons in both spring and fall.
Today we’re going to explore the beautiful artichoke in depth, and its amazing liver-cleansing properties and bone-building nutrients. You’ll discover its taste, too, in the delicious, alkalizing recipe I’ve shared below.
Fun Facts About Artichokes
The artichokes you see in the store are usually Cynara cardunculus, or globe artichokes. They are among the oldest cultivated vegetables, likely originating in the Mediterranean region from a wild variety called a cardoon.
I’ve often wondered about the strange name of this vegetable. The likeliest explanation is that the Italian term for it, articiocco, was changed to “artichoke” as the vegetable migrated northward in the 1500s.
Ciro Terranova was a gangster in the 1920s and 30s, and he earned the nickname “The Artichoke King” for his intimidating tactics in dealing with vegetable farmers. He would frighten California farmers into selling crates of artichokes for very low prices, and The Artichoke King would then sell them in New York for a huge profit.
And if Terranova was The Artichoke King, Marilyn Monroe was The Artichoke Queen! She was crowned Artichoke Queen at the Castroville, CA artichoke festival in 1948.
Artichokes are a fascinating vegetable with a long history. They are also full of bone-rejuvenating, liver-cleansing nutrients.
The Anatomy Of An Artichoke
Artichokes offer two delectable, edible parts: the leaves and the heart. The recipe below calls for the hearts, but the leaves are just as nutritious, so save them to eat later. The “choke” is between the leaves and the heart, and consists of thin, fine, thorny leaves and hairs that are inedible.
Let’s take a look at some of the bone-rebuilding nutrients in artichokes.
Artichoke Nutrients Build Younger Bones
- Manganese* is a trace mineral that surprised researchers not too long ago when they discovered its role in calcium absorption. In fact, calcium deficiency can be caused by a lack of manganese.
- Vitamin C* is a powerful vitamin and antioxidant, and it’s plentiful in artichokes. Vitamin C is especially crucial for building youthful bones, because it’s essential for the production of collagen. Collagen is connective tissue that forms the infrastructure of the bone matrix, and it is one of the key elements of bone tensile strength.
- Magnesium* works in conjunction with calcium to rejuvenate bone. Magnesium also regulates the parathyroid gland, a very important organ that helps control bone mineralization. Artichokes are an excellent source of this mineral.
- Potassium is important in balancing sodium and it helps alkalize the body. Potassium helps transport water across cell membranes (and thus in to and out of cells), and it is necessary for proper nerve cell function.
- Protein is surprisingly abundant in artichokes. Protein helps stabilize blood sugar and provides a non-animal, alkalizing source of this nutrient.
- Fiber gives your digestive system a boost and helps reduce inflammation. Artichokes are rich in fiber, which is an important aspect of cleansing.
The thyroid gland also depends on manganese to produce thyroxine, and manganese is involved in many enzymatic processes.
Artichokes For Liver Health
Artichokes are included in OsteoCleanse™, the 7 Day Bone Building Accelerator, in part because of their silymarin content. Silymarin is a flavonoid that promotes liver hormone synthesis, and also works to prevent liver damage.1
These delicious vegetables also contain cynarin, a biological compound that stimulates bile production. Interestingly, cynarin inhibits taste receptors, making neutral foods and beverages taste sweet after eating artichokes.
Artichokes are so well established as a liver protectant that extracts of artichoke are prescribed in Europe for the treatment of a variety of liver problems.
Artichokes have been shown to prevent liver damage as well. A 2008 study showed that artichoke leaf extract protected liver cells from oxidative damage.2
Why Younger Bones Depend On Liver Health
You may wonder why I am discussing the liver with regards to osteoporosis. The reason is because your liver is your primary detoxification organ, and if it’s compromised, toxins build up, your body becomes acidic, and therefore, your bones lose density. In addition, poisons like drugs, alcohol, and pesticides will ravage your bones if they are not properly filtered out by the liver.
No less important is that your liver produces bile, which you need to absorb fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin D and Vitamin K. As I mentioned above, artichokes promote bile production.
Now Let’s Look At How To Enjoy These Amazing Vegetables
The following recipe contains not only artichokes, but many powerful, liver-cleansing foods, all of which are described in OsteoCleanse™.
Detox Bone-Builder Salad
- 2 artichoke hearts, cooked or raw and chopped (don't throw out the leaves! keep them so you can eat the tender tips with your favorite dip)
- 1 cup kale, raw or lightly steamed if too coarse to chew
- 2 avocados, cubed
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped (adjust to taste)
- 1 cup broccoli, cut small and raw
- 1 tablespoon basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Black pepper (optional)
- Olive oil and lemon juice to taste for dressing
First, you’ll need to prepare the artichoke hearts, unless you want to use canned or jarred artichoke hearts. If so, watch out for the sodium content and the oils used for packing (avoid oils that are typically GMO, such as soybean).
- Quarter a lemon and squeeze the juice into a bowlful of water. Remove the outer leaves from the artichoke, placing them in the lemon water as you do to avoid browning.
- When you reach the thin, light-colored leaves in the middle, cut off the top inch or so of the artichoke. Peel the green skin off the stem (it should be a couple of inches long) using a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Now cut the artichoke in half lengthwise.
- Using a melon baller or fruit spoon, scoop out the hairy purple and white fibers. Place the heart in the lemon water.
- If you prefer to boil the artichoke cut the stem, peel off the outer leaves as desired, and trim the top. Boil water and simmer artichokes for about 20 to 30 minutes or until you can easily pull out a leaf from the center of the artichoke.
- Place the artichoke hearts (cooked or raw) in a bowl and toss with all the other ingredients. Add olive oil and lemon juice to taste and sprinkle with black pepper.
Cleansing With Fruits And Vegetables
Like the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, OsteoCleanse™, the 7 Day Bone Building Accelerator, is mostly nutrition-based. In fact, Step 2 is all about cleansing your body with fresh fruits and vegetables…but not just any fruits and veggies. The ones in OsteoCleanse™ are included because, like the artichoke, they contain nutrients that specifically target the liver (and kidneys too) to accelerate your bone-building results. Plus you get the information on their bone-renewing nutrients as well.
There’s no guesswork – OsteoCleanse™ even includes a shopping list, so you know exactly what to do to get your system cleansed and your liver in top shape to accelerate bone-building.
And unlike most cleanses, it’s not boring, either! You’ll find over 40 scrumptious recipes in OsteoCleanse™, including soups, salads (and dressings), main dishes, and even desserts.
Mini Strawberry Pies, Lemon Mousse, and Ginger Snaps are just a few of the cleansing bone-building sweet treats in OsteoCleanse™.
It’s Not All Or Nothing!
While OsteoCleanse™ only takes 7 days and is designed to be simple and fuss-free, you may not feel ready to undergo a full cleanse right now. In that case, you can use the recipes in OsteoCleanse™ to prepare liver-cleansing meals as often as you like and take your time to decide when it’s a good time to do the cleanse. It’s up to you!
If you’d like to learn more about the foods that protect and cleanse your liver and kidneys in order to accelerate bone-building, I invite you to learn more about OsteoCleanse™, the 7 Day Bone Building Accelerator.
Till next time,
1 Saller R, Meier R, Brignoli R. “The use of silymarin in the treatment of liver diseases”. Drugs. 2001;61 (14): 2035–63.
2 Mehmetcik, Guldal, et al. “Effect of pretreatment with artichoke extract on carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury and oxidative stress.” Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology. Vol 60, iss 6, 18 September 2008, pp 475-480. Web. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0940299308000894