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Beauty Is Wellness: Get This Spring Detox Superfood While You Can!

artichoke-beautyWelcome to Beauty Is Wellness, a column about the link between nutrition, lifestyle and beauty based on my health coaching practice of the same name. I’m thrilled to share information about my favorite beauty foods, original recipes for beautiful skin, hair and nails and nutritional tips for beautifying from the inside out in the months to come. If you have specific questions about the beauty and nutrition connection that you’d like to have answered in this column, contact me at jolene@beautyiswellness.com.

In all the hubbub that surrounds exotic superfoods like acai and baobab, some of the best everyday superfoods get overlooked. It’s just not fair, since these  major beautifiers are readily available (especially when in season), and they don’t need to be imported from some faraway locale to make it to our plates.

Artichokes are one of my top picks for everyday beauty superfoods, and spring is the time to get them at their peak! It’s also the season when you’ll be most likely to find baby artichokes in your market; baby varieties are my favorite to cook with, because you don’t have to worry about removing the fuzzy inner choke before eating the tender core. Without that extra step, they’re even simpler to cook and eat than full-grown artichokes. Artichokes of any size make great appetizers or sides for a dinner party (try my Lemon Balsamic Artichokes recipe below). I think that their presentation far outshines that of other spring veggies, and they barely require any attentive cooking—just a little prep work.

That brings me to their incredible benefits for your inner health and outer beauty.

Artichokes are incredibly high in antioxidants, plus they’re powerful detoxifiers. They contain a plant compound called silymarin that encourages liver cleansing and gallbladder health, and their antioxidant cynarin also boosts bile production, to help you digest fats and detox naturally. When you’re detoxing efficiently and your liver isn’t overburdened, you’ll notice dramatic clarity and glow in your skin! In Chinese Medicine, artichokes are known to circulate chi and build immunity and energy, which distributes throughout your body and supports your overall health and radiance. Artichokes are also easily digestible and have diuretic properties, so they help keep you slim and bloat-free.  If you haven’t cooked with them yet this season, it’s time!

 

Try my quick-cooking recipe for baby artichokes, and boost your glow overnight:

 

Lemon Balsamic Artichokes

These artichokes are simple to cook and can be served hot, at room temperature, or chilled—choose what is easiest for you. When you eat them, use your teeth to scrape off the edible part at the base of each leaf until you reach the soft inner core and tender leaves, which you can eat whole.

3 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 organic lemon
12 baby artichokes
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 handful fresh thyme sprigs

In a large pot, combine water, olive oil, vinegar and the juice of one lemon. Wash artichokes, cut off the tops and stems, snap off the outer layer of leaves, and trim the sharp tops from the remaining leaves. Place them immediately in the pot. Add lemon peels (inner flesh removed), garlic cloves and thyme. Bring water to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Let artichokes simmer about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and serve warm or cool.

For more beauty nutrition news and recipes, check out beautyiswellness.com.

Text and recipes ©2013 Jolene Hart. All rights reserved.

Artichoke image ©Marlith

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BIO:

Jolene Hart, CHC, AADP is a Philadelphia-based writer and founder of Beauty Is Wellness, a natural beauty and health coaching practice. She teaches women to use nutrition and lifestyle choices to look and feel their best from the inside out.

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