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Jerusalem artichoke, the tuber that protects the liver, gut and heart

Jerusalem artichoke, the tuber that protects the liver, gut and heart

December 04, 2022
Antioxidant, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective and cardioprotective action, helps reduce cholesterol, blood sugar and triglycerides, supports the intestinal microbiota, counteracts cell degeneration and fatty liver
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Jerusalem artichoke is a tuber that, at this time of the year, makes its appearance on supermarket shelves. Jerusalem artichoke has a very similar shape to ginger, it has an edible white pulp with a flavor that resembles artichoke, but more delicate. However, partly because it is little known, partly because sometimes you just don't know how to serve it on the table, this tuber is often overlooked. But Jerusalem artichoke, in addition to being simply delicious and capable of enriching even the simplest dishes, is a true concentrate of healthy properties. Today, therefore, we'll try to understand why Jerusalem artichoke is a tuber to be re-evaluated and to be included more often in culinary preparations, based on the most recent and interesting scientific research.

Jerusalem artichoke for the gut microbiota

Jerusalem artichoke is rich in inulin, which has an important prebiotic action, since it is capable of supporting the intestinal microbiota by promoting the proliferation of good bacteria (Bakku et al, Molecules, 2022 - Trullas et al, Animals, 2022). This effect is noteworthy since a healthy microbiota can effectively defend the intestine from pathogens, improves digestion, but also the absorption of nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin B, supports the immune system and reduces inflammation and the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cellular degeneration and depression (Yang et al, Biotechnol Rep, 2015).

Jerusalem artichoke against diabetes

Jerusalem artichoke helps to control blood sugar through several mechanisms. First of all, the Jerusalem artichoke inulin helps to improve glucose tolerance. Then, Jerusalem artichoke participates in the inhibition of an enzyme, called alpha glucosidase, responsible for breaking down starches into simple sugars, thus reducing the absorption of glucose and blood sugar (Takahashi et al, Food Nutr Res, 2022). Not only that, the catechins and flavonoids contained in this tuber help to counteract the oxidative stress and damage to internal organs, such as the kidneys, that type 2 diabetes can cause (Bakku et al, Molecules, 2022). It has been observed that a 100-gram serving of Jerusalem artichoke, consumed together with refined carbohydrates, has been able to reduce post-prandial glycaemia in people with prediabetes (Takahashi et al, Food Nutr Res, 2022).

Jerusalem artichoke for heart health

Jerusalem artichoke protects the heart. In fact, thanks to the inulin it contains, it helps reduce total cholesterol and triglycerides (Bakku et al, Molecules, 2022 - Okada et al, Asian Pac J Trop Med, 2017).

Jerusalem artichoke and liver

Jerusalem artichoke contains valuable antioxidants that have been shown to counteract fatty liver disease (Bakku et al, Molecules, 2022). According to scientific studies, the inclusion of Jerusalem artichokes in a healthy and varied diet is a valid remedy for preventing fatty liver (Chang et al, Br J Nutr, 2014).

Jerusalem artichoke and cellular degeneration

Jerusalem artichoke, thanks to its content in antioxidants and inulin, has been shown to counteract the damage of free radicals but also cellular degeneration, being particularly protective for the colon and breast (Yang et al, Biotechnol Rep, 2015) .

Jerusalem artichoke, uses in the kitchen and warnings

Jerusalem artichoke has a truly delicious taste and lends itself to various preparations. In the healthy eating section you can find the recipe for sea bream fillets with Jerusalem artichoke and Brazil nut and cashew sauce, but also the vegetable-rich pan with mustard sauce and even stuffed squid. It is also possible to consume raw Jerusalem artichoke, after having washed and grated it on salads or cut into very thin slices and seasoned with lemon juice. Jerusalem artichoke is therefore beneficial, delicious and, as we have seen, also easy to add to culinary preparations. The only warning is, especially if you are not used to it, to gradually introduce it into the diet as it could cause intestinal problems, such as bloating and flatulence.

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