Spring is here again, and dandelions are popping up everywhere. Unless you live in the northern part of the country or are still experiencing winter weather, you may be seeing these invasive weeds around your home, too. These “weeds” really aren’t a nuisance at all, depending on how you look at them. In fact, dandelions are a nutrient dense food available for free in your own backyard. Here’s just a few health benefits of dandelion greens:
- Anti-inflammatory – Dandelion greens contain a number of anti-inflammatory compounds that help ease inflammation in the body, thus decreasing the ageing process.
- Diuretic – Dandelion has long been known as a natural diuretic. It may be helpful for reducing toxins via the liver. Some herbal practitioners suggest that it strengthens the function of the liver, our main detoxifying organ. Many people often drink roasted dandelion root tea for its diuretic properties.
- Immune Boosting – Dandelion contains a hefty amount of vitamin C. This vitamin is a known immune system booster, strengthener, and protecter.
- Bone Protection – Because of its high amount of vitamin A, C, and K, dandelion greens are also helpful for protecting bones. Vitamin K2 is known for directing calcium to the bones and keeping it out of areas where it isn’t supposed to be (like arteries). Dandelion greens contain a large amount of vitamin K1, which is healthy for the liver, so it is best to combine it with other vitamin K containing foods (like kale, broccoli, and natto) to optimise vitamin K levels. Vitamin C is also a nutrient needed for bone health by promoting correct collagen synthesis and production.
The only reason why I would advise against collecting your own dandelion leaves would be if you or someone near you sprays a pesticide or insecticide on your yard. Otherwise, dandelions are packed full of nutrients that can really take your health to the next level. Why? These leaves, when consumed immediately after collecting, retain their nutrient value much more so than the green leafy vegetables you find at the store. This is the beauty of eating as local as you possibly can.
This is a basic dandelion green smoothie; however, I definitely urge you to experiment with this base recipe. I’ve added homegrown wheatgrass, carrots, and spinach to this smoothie. See what works for you. Always make sure that what you are eating are dandelion greens! Here’s some pictures and information on how to spot and prepare them if you are picking them locally. Around spring and summer, you also may find them at farmer’s markets or health food stores.
- 2 cups fresh dandelion greens
- 1 small frozen banana
- 1 cup ice
- 1 cup water
- Stevia, to taste
- Pinch of Himalayan salt
- Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Add flaxseed, coconut oil, and spices to boost nutrient intake and lower the glycemic index of the smoothie.
This is The Healthy Advocate.