French Girls Are Drinking Artichoke Water to Debloat—But Does It Work?

Stack of artichokes on neutral background

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You may know the joys of eating artichokes in roasted or dip form, but did you know that artichoke water is a popular bloating remedy in France? As one of the world's top cultivators of the vegetable, the country has been credited with making them famous as far back as the 1500s. French immigrants brought artichokes to the United States in the 1800s, where they've been enjoyed slathered in butter ever since. These days, French girls (among others) have been popularizing another use for artichokes: They claim that consuming this nutrient-packed food in water form can be helpful for calming bloating and indigestion. As with any wellness trend, it's important to look into expert info to learn if it really works, so we spoke to dietitians and nutritionists to find out if the French are onto something. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of drinking artichoke water and whether it really can relieve bloating.

Meet the Expert

  • Eva De Angelis is a licensed dietitian nutritionist based in Argentina, as well as a health & nutrition writer at Health Canal.
  • Megan Darlington is a registered dietitian with the UC Health System in Los Angeles, as well as an expert contributor for Test Prep Insight.
  • Cesar Sauza, MS, is a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian nutritionist with the National Coalition on Health Care.

What Is Artichoke Water?

Artichoke water is a liquid typically made from a concentration of whole artichokes, including the leaf, stem, heart, and flower. While you can make it at home (learn how later in this article), you can also find bottled artichoke water at some health food stores.

Consumed cold or hot (as with artichoke tea), artichoke water has been touted as a tasty and beneficial beverage for everything from clearing out toxins to improving digestion while providing a wealth of nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, and B1 and minerals iron, magnesium, zinc, and calcium. Although considered a trend on a global scale, artichoke tea (essentially, hot artichoke water) is a staple in countries such as Vietnam.

In Vietnam, artichoke tea is called tra atiso and is made from the leaves, stems, roots, and flowers of artichokes to aid with headaches, diabetes, and other conditions.

Benefits of Drinking Artichoke Water

Los Angeles-based registered dietitian Megan Darlington says that artichoke water is an excellent way to strengthen your immunity, since it contains plenty of vitamin C and antioxidants. "It can also help relieve stress and anxiety, given its levels of magnesium, zinc, and potassium," she adds. One potential benefit is reducing cholesterol levels, though Darlington points out that these studies are based on artichoke extract capsules. "It’s not a huge leap to assume that regularly drinking artichoke water may help lower your cholesterol levels," she says. A few potential benefits of drinking artichoke water are as follows:

  • Reduces LDL, "bad" cholesterol levels
  • Protects liver from toxins and aids in bile production
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • May help promote digestion
  • Effective diuretic
  • Anti-aging effects on skin

Still, you should take these potential benefits with a grain of salt: According to Eva De Angelis, a licensed dietitian nutritionist based in Argentina, there is not enough evidence yet about the benefits of drinking artichoke water. While there's plenty of evidence that artichokes are a highly nutritious food, the same qualities may or may not be true of the water. "Not all the same properties of artichokes could be extrapolated to artichoke water, as not all nutrients are water-soluble," she explains.

Does Artichoke Water Help with Bloating?

Artichoke water does have potential as an anti-bloating remedy. "Cynarin extract from artichokes helps with bloating since it stimulates bile production, which helps your gut digest fats, and soak up vitamins from other foods," Darlington explains. Two of the antioxidants found in artichokes (cynarin and silymarin) have been linked to improved liver function, specifically improving the detox properties of the liver; removal of these toxins may also help relieve bloating.

Who Should Avoid Artichoke Water?

According to registered dietitian nutritionist Cesar Sauza, artichoke water may help with bloating, but it can also cause bloating or GI distress for some people. "Anyone that feels gas or bloating with vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, or brussels sprouts should probably avoid artichokes, as it's likely to cause similar symptoms," he advises. Also, if you're constipated or fiber-deficient, Darlington recommends avoiding artichoke water and eating some actual artichoke instead, since you won't get fiber from drinking the water.

Artichokes are rich in dietary fiber and may help decrease cholesterol. However, the amount of fiber found in artichoke water is likely minimal and may not have the same benefits as eating artichoke, according to Sauza.

How to Make Artichoke Water at Home

Sauza recommends boiling artichokes at home and using the remaining water to make artichoke water while still eating the artichoke itself and obtaining its beneficial fiber. "Simply by boiling some artichokes in water until they're fully cooked, you can, of course, eat the artichokes and save the broth," De Angelis says. Make artichoke tea by boiling artichoke leaves and drinking boiled water as tea; artichoke tea bags or loose dried artichoke are also available commercially for convenience.

How to Use Artichoke Water

De Angelis recommends drinking artichoke water as it is. You can consume it alongside meals, drink it first thing in the morning, add it to soups, or try it as a cooking liquid. "You may also try to add it to any smoothies, teas, or juice preparations to reap all the benefits," she adds. According to Sauza, a recommended serving of artichoke water does not exist, as he stresses that artichokes are whole foods that can and should be part of a balanced diet. "The full benefits of artichokes are better obtained by eating the actual artichoke, as the dietary fiber acts as a prebiotic for our gut microbiome," he says. However, he acknowledges that artichokes are more challenging to eat than most other vegetables, so if drinking artichoke tea is more feasible, it provides a high-nutrient alternative.

The Final Takeaway

While more research is necessary, artichoke water may indeed help relieve bloating due to cynarin and silymarin, antioxidant compounds that help the liver produce bile and aid digestion. However, for some people, artichokes can lead to worse symptoms and GI pain, so tread carefully. If a lack of fiber is the culprit for your bloating, then eating the whole artichoke is a better choice, especially if you want to reap the benefits of all the nutrients and savory taste—just add some butter.

Article Sources
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