Artichokes are one of those veggies that lots of people avoid because they think they’re hard to prepare, and they aren’t nice eaten raw.

However, here’s 10 reasons you should think about adding more artichokes to your diet – and preparing them isn’t as hard as you think.

1. Packed with Nutrients

Kim Kircherr, R.D., says that artichokes contain calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A and iron, as well as potassium and antioxidants.

One medium artichoke contains:

64 calories 0.4 g fat 7 g fiber 14.3 g carbohydrates 3.5 g protein 1 g sugar

2. Lots of Protein

If you’re looking for a good source of plant protein, look no further than artichokes, which pack 3.5 grams protein per serving.

Research from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology discovered that those who eat a larger ratio of plant-based protein to animal-based protein have a reduced risk of getting coronary heart disease.

3. High in Fiber

As well as keeping your digestion moving smoothly, fiber can help lower the risk of heart disease. A half-cup of artichokes contains around 7 grams of fiber, which is more than a quarter of the RDI for women, and nearly a fifth of the RDI for men.

4. They Contain Inulin – A Unique Form of Fiber for Gut Health

Kris Sollid, R.D., says that inulin is a “unique form of fiber known to help prevent gastrointestinal issues like constipation, enhance the absorption of minerals like calcium, and bolster your immune system.”

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition says that inulin also works as a prebiotic, which helps your body maintain a healthy gut.

5. Could Boost Immunity

Artichokes were ranked in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry very high up on the list of immune-boosting, antioxidant-rich foods.

6. High in Polyphenols

Artichokes are naturally high in polyphenols, which can help repair cell damage that can reduce your immune function.

Polyphenols are found mostly in plant foods, and research has shown that they can help protect against disease.

7. Could Help Treat Allergies

A diet rich in vegetables such as artichokes can help suppress inflammation. Artichokes are a good source of folate, a B vitamin that is thought to be beneficial in reducing the inflammation that causes allergies and asthma, as well as being important during pregnancy.

8. May Help Lower Body Fat

There isn’t a “magic food” that can help you lose the pounds on its own, but a recent study found that artichokes can be helpful in maintaining a healthy bodyweight. Kircherr says that: “An artichoke has around 25 calories, so it easily fits into a menu that supports healthy weight management.”

9. Could Reduce Cancer Risk

Reducing inflammation also helps lower the potential for cancer cell growth, and artichokes have been shown to help combat specific cancers – pancreatic cancer and breast cancer specifically, due to the flavonoids they contain.

10. Artichokes are a Whole Food

Studies have shown that those who stick to a whole-food, plant-based diet benefit from a reduction in cholesterol and body mass index. Finding nutrients from whole foods like artichokes is always the best approach, says Sollid.

How to Prepare an Artichoke

Get a steamer pot, and add a small amount of water and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add a tablespoon of salt, and bring to a boil. Before adding to the steamer basket, trim off the spiky leaves, then place the artichokes stem-side up in the basket. Cover the pot and steam for 25-30 minutes, until the heart is tender when pierced with a knife, and the inner leaves pull out easily.