Artichoke Dish

There are over 140 varieties of artichokes. However, this number can be sorted into three sizes: jumbo, medium, and baby.

Jumbo artichokes can weigh up to 20 ounces, while medium artichokes weigh between  14 and 16 ounces.

Baby artichokes weigh between 2 and 3 ounces. 

Yes, artichokes can make you gassy. In particular, the Jerusalem artichoke is pretty notorious.

Other cruciferous vegetables that can also make you gassy include cabbage, broccoli, asparagus,  Brussels sprouts, green peppers, cauliflower, radishes, onions, carrots, and celery, among others.

There are two different vegetables that are commonly mistaken for each other, simply because they both identify as artichokes.

These are Globe artichokes (Cynara cardunculus var. Scolymus), also known as common artichokes, which is a flower bud of a thistle-like plant with purplish flowers.

The second is the Jerusalem artichoke, which is an edible starchy root tuber of the sunflower plant. Although these are distinctively different, they are used in similar ways.

How to Distinguish between Jerusalem and Globe Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes 

  • Are also known as wild sunflower, sunroot, topinambur, sunchoke, or earth apple.

  • There are about 70 varieties of sunchokes.

  • They are derived from a sunflower plant’s root (root vegetable).

  • Resemble culinary ginger tubers. They are small, brown, and knobby with tough skin. They offer a great ground cover and can add color to your garden.

  • It comes in yellow, red, and white varieties.

  • Are savory, and have a nutty flavor, but are considered less bitter compared to globe artichokes.

  • It tastes like a cross of potatoes and artichokes.

  • It can be eaten raw or with a dip.

  • It can be fried into chips, boiled, steamed, or subjected to various other cooking techniques in order to soften them up and enhance their rich texture. 

  • They are more popular than Globe artichokes in stews.

 Globe Artichokes

  • They look like immature flower buds.

  • They are green, small and round. 

  • The only edible part of globe artichokes is the artichoke bud and a few of its petals.

  • The stem and the hairy part underneath the bud are not edible.

  • When left to bud, the artichoke matures into broad purple flowers.

  • They are firm when uncooked but soften up like boiled potatoes when cooked. 

  • When cooked, they have a mild nutty flavor and are a little bit bitter.

  • They taste like brussel sprouts, asparagus, or bitter greens.

  • They can be cooked the same as brussel sprouts.

  • Compared to Jerusalem artichokes, they are easily available at grocery stores.

  • They can be used on pizza or as stuffing together with meat, vegetables, or cheese. 

In short, the Globe artichoke is an immature flower bud, whereas the Jerusalem artichoke is a root tuber. Their tastes are somewhat similar even though they are from different plant parts. They are both perennials and easy to grow, despite necessitating different farming requirements.

Remedies for Gassy Artichokes 

abdominal bloating

Love artichokes? Great! Let no gas stand in your way. Soaking Jerusalem artichokes helps in eliminating their gas-inducing tendencies.

Jerusalem artichokes are also known as Helianthus tuberosus, sunchoke, or nicknamed by gardeners and chefs as Fartichoke.

It is a kind of perennial sunflower that grows up to 3m tall with a golden daisy-like flower in summer. It usually dies in autumn, but its brown nutty-tasting tuber is harvested in winter.      

They have a serious gas-inducing reputation. Their sweetness is derived from high levels of inulin, which is a soluble fiber that goes through the digestive system while intact and gets broken down by gut bacteria once it reaches the colon, thereby releasing loads of gas. Some of the gas combating remedies for artichoke soups include;

  • Accompanying your bowl of artichoke soup with slices of whole-grain toast. 

  • Slow-roasting in a medium oven for at least one hour makes inulin more digestible by breaking it down.

  • Simply adding fennel seeds or caraway to Jerusalem artichoke slow-cooker stews eliminates excessive gas.

  • Gently simmer your artichokes in milk after soaking them in salted water.

  • Fermenting the artichokes to make pickles is one other way to tame these “gassy” tubers. 

Interesting Facts About Farts

man farting

First, farting is healthy and normal. Secondly, the average person farts at least 5-15 times daily.

Forget about the embarrassment or discomfort caused by farting. Actually, having plenty of gas on a given day is an indication of good health.

It is important to note that gas-creating foods tend to be heart-healthy or fiber-packed complex carbs that can only be broken down by bacteria in the gut. 

Can One Regulate Farting?

Pulses, vegetables, and fruits can cause gas. However, eliminating wind is not as important as eating several portions of these daily.

It is vital to add fibrous foods to your diet in smaller portions to avoid discomfort from sudden gas buildup.

Being dehydrated increases the risk of constipation, leading to excess gas. When the stool is retained in the gut, it continues fermenting, hence producing extra foul-smelling gas.

Ensure that you are hydrated throughout the day by having a drink with all your meals. Drinking peppermint tea relieves bloating and excess gas. 

To tackle gassy situations, reduce unnecessary air ingestion brought about by the consumption of fizzy drinks, since taking plenty of them leads to burping and gassing, more so if you don't avoid them.

The same happens when one guzzles down soup with a spoon or chews gum.

Foods That Can Make One Gassy

Onion to be eaten

1. Beans and Lentils

Even though they contain plenty of fiber, they are also composed of raffinose, a complex sugar that is not well processed by the body, leading to the production of methane, hydrogen, and smelly sulfur.

2. Milk and Dairy Products

Dairy from goats and cows contains lactose, a sugar that can easily cause gas build-up. A recent finding indicates that about 65% of the world's adult population has a level of Lacto-intolerance, meaning the daily consumption of dairy products leaves them gassy and feeling bloated.

3. Onions

Onions, leeks, and garlic all contain fructans. This carb is known to cause bloating and gas.

4. Cruciferous Vegetables

Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, turnips, sprouts, and other green leafy vegetables are extremely high in fiber, making them difficult for the body to digest. However, gut bacteria utilize it for energy, leading to gas. Besides, a number of cruciferous vegetables contain sulfur, which is associated with strong odors.

5. Fatty Foods

Fatty foods, including beef, eggs, poultry, fish, and pork slow down digestion. They leave them fermenting in your gut. Fatty meat is rich in the amino acid methionine, which contains sulfur that, when broken down by gut bacteria, turns into hydrogen sulfide.

Taking protein supplements could lead to flatulence and excessive gas because they contain ingredients that can affect lactose-intolerant people.

Protein shakes and bars also contain inulin, and low-calorie sweeteners (mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and lactitol) 

6. Gluten and wheat

People suffering from celiac disease are susceptible to flatulence when they consume foods like barley, rye, and wheat. This is mainly because these foods contain a protein known as gluten, which triggers a horrible autoimmune gut reaction like excessive wind, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloating.

Nutritional Benefits of Artichokes

Some of the globe artichoke benefits include:

  • improved digestion

  • promotion of liver health

  • heart health

  • regulation of blood pressure.

  • Artichoke leaf extract has a positive effect on cholesterol levels. It is credited with an increase of “Good” HDL Cholesterol and a decrease of ”Bad” LDL Cholesterol. This is because it contains luteolin, an antioxidant that prevents the formation of cholesterol while at the same time giving the body an opportunity to efficiently process the cholesterol.

Artichokes’ inulin fiber acts as a prebiotic, hence alleviating diarrhea and constipation and also reducing the risk of bowel cancers.

Artichokes leaf extract can ease irritable bowel syndrome, whose symptoms are cramping, flatulence, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

It could reduce muscle spasms and inflammation while balancing gut bacteria.

Artichoke leaf extract and artichokes may contribute to reduced blood sugar levels. However, more research is needed to ascertain this claim.

Artichokes are high in fiber, low in fat, are loaded with vitamin C and K, and minerals such as potassium, iron, magnesium, folate, and phosphorus.

They are some of the richest antioxidant sources among vegetables.

 A medium artichoke 120 grams cooked or 128 grams uncooked contains the following nutrients:

Nutrients

Cooked-Boiled (120 gms)

Raw (128 gms)

Carbs

14.3 grams

13.5 grams

Fiber

6.8 grams

6.9 grams

Fat

0.4 grams

0.2 grams

Protein

3.5 grams

4.2 grams

Vitamin C

15% of the RDI

25% of the RDI

Vitamin K

22% of the RDI

24% of the RDI

Riboflavin

6% of the RDI

5% of the RDI

Thiamine

6% of the RDI

5% of the RDI

Vitamin B6

5% of the RDI

11% of the RDI

Niacin

7% of the RDI

7% of the RDI

Iron

4% of the RDI

9% of the RDI

Folate

27% of the RDI

22% of the RDI

Potassium

10% of the RDI

14% of the RDI

Phosphorus

9% of the RDI

12% of the RDI

Magnesium

13% of the RDI

19% of the RDI

Zinc

3% of the RDI

6% of the RDI

Calcium

3% of the RDI

6% of the RDI

How to Incorporate Artichokes into Diets

artichoke drizzled with olive oil

Artichokes can be prepared or cooked in diverse ways to get the most nutrients out of them. Both the heart and leaves can be eaten.

Once cooked, they can be taken hot or cold and served with various dipping sauces. 

Artichokes can be baked, boiled, steamed, roasted, grilled, sautéed, breaded, or stuffed.

Steaming only takes between 20-40 minutes, whereas baking takes approximately 40 minutes at 350°F (177°C).

Types of Artichokes

There are over 140 varieties of artichokes. Besides the United States, the main producers of artichokes in Europe are Italy and France.

Artichokes from Italy have closed heads and tend to be elliptical or cylindrical in shape. Examples include Spinoso Sardo, Romanesco, and Violetto di Toscana, among others. 

Artichokes varieties from France include Caribou and Camus de Bretagne.

Algeria is also known for producing hybrid artichokes such as the Opal and Concerto, among others.

Below are examples of artichokes:

  • Violetto: this Italian treasure is renowned for its production of numerous small side shoots.

  • The Imperial Star is a widely adaptable variety, easy to propagate from seed, bred, and grown as an annual within zones 6 and colder. It is thornless, has an edible stem, is conical in shape, and has a glossy green color.

  • Big Heart is a thornless, heat-resistant artichoke. It is conically shaped with a purple tinge and green color at the base. It is also available throughout the year.

  • The Purple of Romagna is a wonderful Italian heirloom that is absolutely loved by chefs.

  • Green Globe is commercially grown in California. However, it is not adaptable in less-than-ideal growing conditions. It is globe-shaped, has prominent thorns, and is green in color. It features some purple color at its base. In southern California, it can be grown all year round and its peak season is spring.

  • Desert Globe is green and has a conical to circular shape with inconspicuous thorns.

Conclusion

Artichokes can make you gassy. However, the discomfort and the possible embarrassment associated with passing gas cannot be compared with the health benefits obtained from eating artichokes or using artichoke extracts.

Unless the benefits accrued from eating artichokes are outweighed by the problems caused by eating them, have yourself a healthy serving and enjoy the nutrients right from the source.