Thistles are rich in water and fiber, with a high detox power: let's discover all their properties
With their bitter and slightly sweet taste, similar to that of artichokes, thistles are a tasty and very versatile side dish. They are also real allies for our health: rich in important nutrients, they help purify the body and lose weight easily.
Thistles are an excellent alternative for those on a diet: a 100-gram serving provides just 10 calories, so it helps to quench the sense of hunger and makes it easier to reduce the amount of food eaten during the meal. We are also faced with a food particularly rich in fiber, substances that act on the gastrointestinal level. Their role mainly consists in crossing the stomach unscathed and providing nourishment to the bacterial flora, while improving intestinal activity.
Thanks to the presence of fiber and high water content, thistles have a detox effect: they increase the hydration of the body, reduce water retention and promote the elimination of toxins. Their effects are particularly evident in the liver, since they have an anticyrrotic action. A particular variety known as milk thistle contains silymarin, a compound made up of three active ingredients very useful for protecting the liver. A study published in Molecules highlighted its role in reducing the damage caused by diseases such as liver cirrhosis and hepatitis C.
The hepatoprotective efficacy of thistles is also due to the presence of cynarin, a substance that stimulates the production of bile and the emptying of the gallbladder. On the other hand, several trials on rats have shown a therapeutic action against the kidneys and, in particular, remarkable efficacy in keeping blood cholesterol levels under control.
Among the substances in which thistles are rich, antioxidants stand out. There are significant quantities of polyphenols, which perform numerous beneficial actions for the body: they fight inflammation, counteract the formation of free radicals and protect the heart, as well as having antithrombotic and antimicrobial effects. Some phenolic compounds such as caffeic acid have also proved effective in inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells, especially in the case of breast cancer.
Most thistles are subjected to a practice called "bleaching", which softens the flavor. However, it also causes the loss of important nutrients, such as vitamins and mineral salts: these are still present, but in smaller quantities.
Finally, remember that the consumption of thistles is contraindicated in case of hypertension. In fact, they contain tyramine, which stimulates the secretion of catecholamines and the increase in pressure. If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to ask your doctor for clarification.