When eaten as part of a well-balanced meal plan, artichokes provide you with some heart-healthy benefits – including healthy weight management. Artichokes are packed with essential nutrients, especially fiber. Adding too much table salt or butter to your artichokes, however, can counter the health benefits you’d ordinarily gain from this heart-healthy vegetable.
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A Low-Cal Veggie
Artichokes are a low-calorie vegetable, which is beneficial when you’re trying to maintain – or achieve – a healthy weight. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, one medium artichoke only contains 64 calories. While the average calorie requirement for women is about 2,000 calories daily, most men need an average of about 2,500 calories a day to maintain healthy body weights, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.
Carbs and Fiber
Artichokes are carb-rich vegetables and provide about 14.3 grams of total carbs in each medium-sized artichoke, according to the USDA. The majority of carbs in artichokes are from dietary fiber – there are about 10.3 grams of fiber in each medium-sized portion. Eating a high-fiber diet helps reduce your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, gastrointestinal diseases and obesity, according to a 2009 review in “Nutrition Reviews.” Authors of the review recommend taking in 14 grams of dietary fiber for each 1,000 calories you eat.
Protein and Fat
Though low-fat foods, artichokes do contain some dietary protein. One medium artichoke provides about 3.5 grams of protein but less than 1 gram of dietary fat. If you add some olive oil to your artichokes, the healthy fat content – and total calories -- will increase. The Institute of Medicine suggests that men eat at least 56 grams of protein daily, while many women require a minimum of 46 grams a day, and pregnant and nursing women should aim for 71 grams of protein per day.
Vitamins and Minerals
Similar to many other vegetables, artichokes are packed with vitamins and minerals. The USDA shows that they are a good source of vitamin K, folate and potassium. Artichokes also contain small amounts of calcium, niacin, magnesium and phosphorous. Although fresh artichokes are a low-sodium food, the sodium content may add up quickly if you choose canned or pickled artichokes – or add too much table salt.