Although often considered a vegetable, artichokes (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) are a type of thistle.
This plant originated in the Mediterranean and has been used for centuries for its potential medicinal properties.
Its alleged health benefits include lower blood sugar levels and improved digestion, heart health, and liver health.
Artichoke extract, which contains high concentrations of compounds found in the plant, is also increasingly popular as a supplement.
Artichokes are low in fat while rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Particularly high in folate and vitamins C and K, they also supply important minerals, such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron.
One medium artichoke contains almost 7 grams of fiber, which is a whopping 23–28% of the reference daily intake (RDI).
These delicious thistles come with only 60 calories per medium artichoke and around 4 grams of protein — above average for a plant-based food.
To top it off, artichokes rank among the most antioxidant-rich of all vegetables.