Dietary Supplements

What are the health benefits of eating Jerusalem artichoke?

A Answers (2)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    Despite the name, the Jerusalem artichoke is neither from Jerusalem nor is it an artichoke. It's actually a tuber from the Americas. It looks like a small knobby potato and is high in minerals like iron, magnesium, and potassium, plus an array of B vitamins. Jerusalem artichokes are also a good source of inulin, a prebiotic that fuels the healthy bacteria in your gut. This helps to keep your intestines clean and your belly flat.

    Jerusalem artichokes can be cooked, mashed, and served as a sweet substitute for mashed potatoes, or as a thickener for soups and stews. You can also buy special pastas made with Jerusalem artichoke to help with constipation.

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  • AMichael T. Murray, Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    Jerusalem artichokes, like globe artichokes, are a rich source of inulin. Inulin is a polysaccharide, or starch, that is handled by the body differently from other sugars. In fact, inulin is not utilized by the body for energy metabolism. This makes Jerusalem artichokes extremely beneficial to diabetics. In fact, Jerusalem artichoke polysaccharides have actually been shown to improve blood sugar control. Since the body does not utilize the primary carbohydrate of Jerusalem artichoke, the calorie content is virtually nil, only 7 calories per 100 grams (roughly 31/2 ounces).

    Jerusalem artichokes may also have some immune-enhancing activity, as inulin also has the ability to enhance a component of our immune system known as complement. Complement is responsible for increasing host defense mechanisms, such as neutralization of viruses, destruction of bacteria, and increased movement of white blood cells (neutrophils, monocytes, eosinophils, and lymphocytes) to areas of infection. Many medicinal plants, such as echinacea and burdock, owe much of their immune-enhancing effects to inulin. Jerusalem artichoke is one of the richest sources of inulin available.

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What is the nutritional value of the Jerusalem artichoke?