By Colleen McTiernan

As far as vegetables go, artichokes are certainly one of the more distinctive looking options. Artichokes owe their odd appearance to the fact that they (like capers) are actually flower buds!

If your diet is lacking in fiber (like the majority of Americans), you may want to add some artichokes to your plate. According to the California Artichoke Advisory board, one large artichoke has six grams of dietary fiber, which is more than a cup of prunes!

That same large artichoke contains only 25 calories, has no fat and is an excellent source of antioxidants. In fact, a study by the United States Department of Agriculture ranked artichokes as the No. 1 vegetable in antioxidant count. So if you are trying to incorporate more veggies into your diet, consider the artichoke as an alternative to the more commonly consumed cucumbers, lettuce and broccoli.