Also called “Jerusalem artichoke” due to its taste reminiscent of that of the artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke helps regulate blood sugar and intestinal transit, is diuretic and lowers cholesterol. Discover the properties of Jerusalem artichoke.
Jerusalem artichoke is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Compositae family . It blooms in late summer and is characterized by intense yellow flowers. The characteristic of Jerusalem artichoke is the shape of the tuber which is irregular as if it were a lumpy potato and reminiscent of ginger.
There are two varieties of Jerusalem artichoke, the early white which is available as early as the end of August and the purplish, which can be found on the market in autumn-winter. Jerusalem artichoke is known by several names such as cane truffle, tuberous sunflower, Canadian potato and wild potato.
Originally, in fact, this tuber was grown in Canada, but now its cultivation takes place almost everywhere. Let’s see together the properties of Jerusalem artichoke and its possible side effects.
Jerusalem artichoke: calories and nutritional values
Jerusalem artichoke has many properties and offers various health benefits. First of all, let’s talk about the energy intake: the calories of Jerusalem artichoke are about 76, which makes it a low-calorie vegetable. Fats are also low and the protein content is modest.
Furthermore, Jerusalem artichoke has a good content of potassium and iron and contains both soluble fiber, which allows the reduction of cholesterol and glucose levels in the blood, and insoluble fiber which is instead useful in case of constipation to accelerate intestinal transit, favoring bowel cleansing action. These properties make Jerusalem artichoke an ideal food for those who want to keep their body weight under control.
Nutritional values per 100g of Jerusalem artichoke:
- kcal: 76
- Proteins: 2 g
- Fat: 0.001 g
- Carbohydrates: 17.44 g
- of which sugars: 9.6 g
- Sodium: 4 mg
- Potassium: 429 mg
- Soccer: 14 mg
- Magnesium: 17 mg
- Iron: 3.4 mg
- Vitamin B1: 0.2 mg
- Vitamin A: 20 IU
- C vitamin: 4 mg
- Glycemic index: 50
- Cholesterol: 0 g
Jerusalem artichoke: nutritional properties
The properties of Jerusalem artichoke are given by the presence of many nutrients, especially iron and potassium, and fiber, especially inulin. Let’s see in detail the characteristics of these substances.
- Inulin: it is a soluble fiber that is not digested but which performs various functions. In fact, it increases the sense of satiety and intestinal motility, lowers blood sugar, reduces intestinal gas, promotes the growth of good bacteria in the colon, reduces the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and triglycerides.
- Iron: it is an element that becomes part of hemoglobin, a protein that has the function of transporting oxygen to the tissues. It stimulates the functioning of various organs such as intestines, liver and spleen and is important for the brain system. An iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, depression and anemia.
- Potassium: it has vasodilating properties for which it balances the blood flow and consequently the arterial pressure, and also regulates the heartbeat.
Jerusalem artichoke: health benefits
The benefits of Jerusalem artichoke are different and are linked to a regular consumption of this food. Below we discover in detail all the properties of this vegetable.
✓ Reduces bad cholesterol, triglycerides and sugars
The inulin contained in Jerusalem artichoke has the ability to limit the intestinal absorption of cholesterol, triglycerides and sugars. Thanks to this property, Jerusalem artichoke can be used effectively by subjects with hyperlipidemia and diabetics, avoiding post-prandial glycemic peaks.
✓ Balances blood pressure
Thanks to the high presence of potassium, present in a higher quantity than banana, the consumption of Jerusalem artichoke is able to lower blood pressure.
✓ Jerusalem artichoke has a high satiating power
The inulin contained in Jerusalem artichoke in contact with water binds to it and swells, giving a satiating effect and thus reducing appetite. For this reason, it is a food particularly suitable for slimming diets. The advice is therefore to drink water when you eat Jerusalem artichoke.
✓ Rebalances the intestinal bacterial flora
Also inulin, a substance present in Jerusalem artichoke that we have already encountered several times, favors the development of good bacteria in the intestine, thus carrying out an immunostimulating action.
✓ It is digestive
Jerusalem artichoke has a slightly bitter substance that stimulates the secretion of gastric juices and thus facilitates digestion.
✓ Indicated in pregnancy
In fact, it would seem that the consumption of Jerusalem artichoke is capable of increasing the production of breast milk, thanks to the galactogenic properties of the roots, making it a valuable food during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
✓ Fights constipation
Thanks to the presence of fibers, Jerusalem artichoke is useful in case of constipation and intestinal gas, which helps to expel. It is therefore effective in clearing the intestine of accumulated waste and toxins.
✓ Jerusalem artichoke is diuretic
The presence of potassium makes Jerusalem artichoke a suitable food to combat water retention and cellulite.
✓ Fights anemia
Thanks to the presence of iron, the consumption of Jerusalem artichoke helps fight anemia, especially when combined with foods rich in vitamin C to increase iron absorption.
Jerusalem artichoke: how much to eat
Jerusalem artichoke is considered a vegetable and, as such, a standard portion corresponds to about 200 grams per day. However, this quantity should be reduced to about 100 g in children. In addition, some people are very sensitive to the insulin contained in this food and high quantities could cause more or less strong intestinal discomfort: even in this case it is advisable to consume a limited amount, which depends from person to person.
When it is in season (typically in the winter) it is possible to eat a portion of Jerusalem artichoke even every day, taking care to alternate it or combine it with other seasonal foods in order to make your diet varied and even healthier.
Jerusalem artichoke: taste and how to use it
Jerusalem artichoke has a characteristic taste, halfway between that of artichoke and potato. When raw, its flavor is stronger while when cooked it is more delicate.
In the kitchen, Jerusalem artichoke can be used in various ways. Before using it, however, it is good to wash it under running water and peel it (it can also be peeled after cooking or eaten with the peel). The Jerusalem artichoke, cut into small pieces, can be cooked in different ways, such as steamed for 10-15 minutes, boiled for about 10 minutes or cooked in a pressure cooker for about 5 or 6 minutes.
It can be eaten cooked in risotto or as a side dish with steam, in the oven, sauted or in soups, to be paired with potatoes and onion, or, when in season, with pumpkin.
It can also be eaten raw, and is ideal for keeping its nutritional properties intact , which would be partly lost with the cooking process. Raw is excellent cut into thin slices and seasoned with oil, salt and lemon juice or added to your salads.
To buy fresh Jerusalem artichoke you can go to local markets or specialized shops of organic products, where you can also find preparations based on this root.
Jerusalem artichoke: contraindications and potential negative effects
The consumption of Jerusalem artichokes does not involve particular contraindications or side effects. However, it is important not to exceed the daily doses because the body may not be able to dispose of the inulin contained in Jerusalem artichoke. Consuming large quantities of Jerusalem artichokes can cause an excess of intestinal air, diarrhea and stomach ache.
As we have already said above, remember that the recommended daily amount for an adult is 200 grams, a dose that will be reduced in the case of children and adolescents. It is forbidden to take it in case of allergy to plants belonging to the Compositae family.