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jOSEPH BALDWIN

EARTH TO TABLE

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7 Health Benefits Of Jerusalem Artichoke

You can eat the tubers raw, cooked, or pickled. Native Americans cultivated H. tuberosus before Europeans arrived as a food source. The tubers persist for years after being planted, so the species expanded its range from central North America to the eastern and western regions.[citation needed] Early European colonists learned of this and sent tubers back to Europe, where they became a popular crop and naturalized there. It later gradually fell into obscurity in North America, but attempts to market it commercially were successful in the late 1900s and early 2000s. The tuber contains about 2% protein, no oil, and little starch. It is rich in the carbohydrate inulin (8 to 13%), which is a polymer of the monosaccharide fructose. Tubers stored for any length of time convert their inulin into its component, fructose. Jerusalem artichokes have an underlying sweet taste because of fructose, which is about one and a half times as sweet as sucrose. Wasps feed on the stems of Jerusalem artichokes. It has also been reported as a folk remedy for diabetes: since inulin is not assimilated in the intestine, it doesn't cause a glycemic spike as potatoes would. Temperature variances have been shown to affect the amount of inulin the Jerusalem artichoke can produce. It makes less inulin in a colder region than when it is in a warmer region

1.     The Jerusalem artichoke has a prebiotic effect.

Prebiotics are non-digestible fiber compounds that stimulate the growth and/or activity of beneficial bacteria that colonize the gastrointestinal tract by acting as a substrate for them. Jerusalem artichokes contain plenty of inulin, which stimulates the growth of bifidobacteria and fights harmful bacteria.

2.     The Jerusalem artichoke can help blood glucose levels.

The glycemic index (GI) classifies foods and beverages based on their ability to increase the level of glucose in the blood. Carbohydrates in foods with a high GI score break down into simple sugars quickly and cause blood glucose levels to spike. This peak is followed by a sharp drop in blood glucose levels. Studies suggest that the fluctuating blood glucose levels linked with eating high GI foods may significantly increase the risk of fatigue, heart disease, altered mood, resistance, and diabetes. The Jerusalem artichoke contains a glycemic value of 11 and is considered a low GI food. This means that the Jerusalem artichoke provides a slow and stable rise and fall in blood glucose levels.

3.     The Jerusalem artichoke can help with digestive problems.

Jerusalem artichokes are loaded with B-vitamins, including thiamine (B1). Thiamine helps with the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Lack of hydrochloric acid may impair protein digestion and cause stomach pain by inhibiting the activation of the enzyme pepsin. Also, the tuber is a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber is the indigestible portion of food derived from plants. A high-fiber diet can normalize bowel movements, preventing some cancers.

4.     The Jerusalem artichoke can help control cholesterol.

Soluble fiber, found in the Jerusalem artichoke, may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies suggested that fiber may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation. 

5.     The Jerusalem artichoke may help control blood pressure.

The Jerusalem artichoke is high in potassium and low in sodium, which lowers blood pressure. One cup of the tuber contains 643 milligrams of potassium and only 6 milligrams of sodium. Also, the fiber content in the Jerusalem artichoke is helpful in improving the performance of insulin in the body, which aids in the lowering of blood pressure.

6.     The Jerusalem artichoke can help with blood formation.

Copper and iron are essential for the new blood cell formation. One cup of the Jerusalem artichoke contains 28 percent and 20 percent of the daily recommended value of iron and copper, respectively. A deficiency in iron can lead to anemia.

7.     The Jerusalem artichoke can help boost the immune system.

The Jerusalem artichoke contains small amounts of antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E. These vitamins together with flavonoid compounds like carotenes helps seek and eliminate free radicals, offering the body protection from cancers, inflammation, viral cough, and the common cold.

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