Artichoke Nutrition and Health Benefits

Picture of artichokes
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Artichokes have an interesting history. Ancient Greeks believed that as punishment for deceiving him, Zeus transformed his lover Cynara into an artichoke. In Italy and other Mediterranean regions, artichokes were considered both a delicacy and an aphrodisiac.

Today there are more than 100 varieties of artichokes, ranging in size (from baby to jumbo), color (from dark green to purple) and shape(from large spheres to long, oval cylinders).

Artichokes have thorny points on their leaves that must be removed before eating.

Most of the artichokes in the United States come from California. Peak artichoke season is spring, but they can be available all year long.

Artichoke Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Medium, cooked without salt, Serving (120 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 64 
Calories from Fat 2 
Total Fat 0.4g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 120mg5%
Potassium 474mg14%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Dietary Fiber 7g28%
Sugars 1.2g 
Protein 3.5g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 15%
Calcium 3% · Iron 4%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

One medium artichoke contains 60 calories and a whopping 7 grams of fiber, contributing to nearly one-third of your daily fiber needs. Artichokes are extremely filling food. When prepared with minimal fat, they are a low calorie, low-fat food choice. Be cautious when eating things like fried and stuffed artichokes as these food choices are rich in fat and calories.

Health Benefits 

One medium artichoke is high in fiber, vitamin K, and folate and is a good source of magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C.

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for bone health and blood clotting. If you are someone who takes Coumadin, it's important to make sure that your vitamin K intake is consistent, meaning you eat about the same amount of green leafy vegetables daily.

Discuss your levels with your doctor so that you have a better understanding.

Folate is important in preventing neural tube defects and red blood cell formation and magnesium is a mineral that is important for nerve and muscle conduction.

Potassium may help to lower blood pressure and vitamin C is an important water-soluble vitamin that helps to repair cells, boost immunity and plays a role in anti-aging.

Research indicates that artichokes may contain properties that are anti-carcinogenic and could help to lower cholesterol.

How Do You Clean and Cut Artichokes?

Artichokes can be cut differently based on your cooking method. To get started, you want to trim the bottom stem and cut off some of the top hard tip leaves. Pull off some of the tougher outer skin and tougher outer leaves. This is good for oil and steamed artichoke.

If you want to stuff an artichoke, you will do the same, starting with trimming the bottom and top and cutting off some of the harder leaves. Next, you will dig out the choke, either with a spoon or paring knife to get out the hairy spiny part.

If you want to saute your artichoke, follow the same technique and after you take out the choke, you will then quarter the artichoke down the middle.

Anytime you clean an artichoke, you want to dump it in water with lemon and ice to keep it nice and green.

How Do You Eat an Artichoke?​​

Artichokes can be intimidating, but once you eat one, you'll want to eat another. For a step by step guide on how to eat an artichoke, check out the California Artichoke Advisory Board video.

Picking and Storing Artichokes

Artichokes can be purchased fresh, frozen, canned or marinated.

If you are looking to purchase fresh artichokes, avoid those that have brown spots or split leaves and choose those that are firm, with tightly packed leaves that feel heavy for their size.

Store fresh artichokes in a plastic bag for up to five days and avoid washing until just before cooking.

When purchasing canned artichokes, you would be better off avoiding those that are marinated in oil and vinegar as these types of artichokes tend to be high in calories and sodium. If you must purchase canned, be sure to rinse them before use.

Frozen artichokes can last in the freezer for six months up to a year—but it doesn't hurt to look at the best by date.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Artichokes

Artichokes are a great addition to salads, sandwiches, and grain dishes. They can be a good toast topper as well as a filling addition to soups. Artichokes add color, texture, and filling fiber to egg and vegetable dishes. If you want to try stuffed artichokes, you can reduce fat and calories by using your stuffing sparingly—to add additional flavor go "heavy" on the garlic and add some herbs and spices to your recipe.

Recipes With Artichokes

If you are looking for a different type of way to start your day, think about adding artichokes to your breakfast—you'll be sure to stay full until lunch. Get some ideas on how to add artichokes to lunch and dinner too.

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Article Sources
  • California Artichoke Advisory Board. How to eat an artichoke.
  • Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrients for health.
  • Welland, Diane. Artichokes. Food and Nutrition. 2016;32-33.