Artichokes reverse the effects of a high-fat diet, concludes study

One of the consequences of following a high-cholesterol diet is having elevated blood cholesterol levels. Fortunately, many natural remedies have hypolipidemic and antiatherogenic effects. One of these is artichokes (Cynara scolymus). A study published in Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia revealed that artichokes possess powerful lipid-lowering properties.

The study, conducted by a team of researchers from Brazil, examined the hypolipidemic and antiatherogenic effects of an aqueous extract prepared from the leaves of artichokes in mice with high levels of cholesterol in the blood. To do this, the research team treated mice with high cholesterol levels with 150, 300, or 600 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of artichoke aqueous extract or four mg/kg of simvastatin, a drug used to lower lipid levels. A control group received water. These treatments were given once a day for 30 days. At the same time, the mice were fed with a hypercaloric diet throughout the study period. (Related: Artichokes contain a variety of natural antioxidants that reduce the symptoms of diabetes.)

The results of the study showed that the serum levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol of mice treated with artichoke extracts had gone down significantly. Inflammation had also been considerably reduced.

From this study, the research team concluded that artichoke extract possesses hypolipidemic and antiatherogenic effects. The researchers explained that these beneficial effects could be attributed to the presence of polar substances present in artichoke.

Artichoke and its other health benefits of artichokes

Artichoke, which is a thistle-like plant, is an essential part of the Mediterranean cuisine and is grown all over Europe, America, and the Middle Eastern countries. It is also known for its medicinal properties, especially its leaves.

Artichoke has been used medicinally way back to the fourth century B.C., but it was not until the 20th century that it became widely known as delicious and nutritious food. Artichokes are rich in nutrients, such as fiber, vitamin C, inulin, and polyphenols. Artichokes also contain antioxidants and prebiotics, which are beneficial for the good gut bacteria. Artichoke consumed as food is already highly nutritious, but you may be able to get more of its nutrients from artichoke extract.

Artichokes also contain cynarin, which is the most important compound found in this superfood. It is the main ingredient responsible for many health benefits people reap from taking artichoke extract. In addition, artichokes are considered as adaptogens, which are non-toxic plants that help the body ward off chemical, physical, and biological stress. Here are some of the health benefits of artichoke:

  • Boosts brain function: Consuming artichokes or taking artichoke extract may positively affect your memory. It can improve short-term memory and memory consolidation, the transferring of short-term memories to long-term. It could also help with memory recall, which is the ability to remember specific things when called upon.
  • Improves digestion: Artichoke can improve digestive health. A study found that it can help with indigestion partly due to its ability to boost gut movement, at the same time providing some support for absorbing vitamins and overall fat digestion. It can also help relieve heartburn or dyspepsia, bloating, and nausea. Artichoke also contributes to balancing gut flora, which is beneficial for the digestive system.
  • Lowers blood pressure: Artichoke lowers not only high cholesterol levels but also blood pressure. It works by stimulating the activity of eNOS, a special enzyme that plays a role in nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide widens blood vessels, which in turn lowers blood pressure.

Read more news stories and studies on natural ways to lower high cholesterol levels by going to

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