What is Dandelion? (Besides a Pesky Weed)
What if I told you dandelion greens are one of my favorite foods? I am being serious! Most people view the dandelion plant as an invasive weed that deters from a beautifully cut lawn.
However that so called “pesky plant” has an abundance of health benefits, flavor and has been a popular dish for many years in the Mediterranean culture. I would often eat fresh dandelion greens, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt at my grandmother’s house in the summer months.
To me, this was just about as normal as munching on a green salad drenched in ranch dressing! It is time that we start to truly think of our food as medicine and pay close attention to the beautiful and healing foods that mother earth provides us.
The Sneaky Benefits of This Food
Not only can dandelion greens aid in the natural detoxification of your body, but this bitter green also stimulates the digestion process in the body. The dandelion greens can be eaten or a tea can be made using the roots and leaves.
Show me the Benefits!
Now you have a basic understanding of why the dandelion greens are so beneficial, but what makes them so dang healthy!?
The greens of the dandelion plant are packed with vitamins A, C, E, B, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc! Who would have thought?
A lot of the benefits are targeted at the liver and urinary tract but that does not mean that other parts of your body don’t reap the benefit as well. The roots of the plant primarily target the liver and the detox pathways. Some studies have been conducted and the results show that dandelion root tea can actually protect against certain liver disorders, and aid in the detoxification from some medications.
Dandelion greens also act as a diuretic which is extremely beneficial for our urinary tract! The urinary tract and the kidneys work together to rid our body of any toxic waste that could potentially cause harm to our bodies, and the dandelion greens play a helpful role in this process.
Dandelion has a positive effect on the immune system as well. They help to protect against cell damage, infection, and disease. Your body is constantly fighting off toxins from the everyday environment. Dandelion root is actually an antioxidant (thanks to the Vitamin E and C). These are known to fight against the unwanted free radicals that form from toxic exposure.
Incorporating Dandi into your Day
I suggest incorporating these bitter greens into your diet weekly if you can! You can often find dandelion greens at the supermarket. I suggest steaming or sautéing them and finishing with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon and a pinch of sea salt.
You can also drink as a tea. My favorite is the Traditional Medicinal dandelion root tea. It’s an excellent way to kick off your morning or use as a substitute to coffee!