The following posts have some nice information on Dandelions, Dandelions are one of those healthy foods that are very easy to grow,well that’s kind of over stating the obvious, they’ll grow even if you don’t want them to, so take advantage of them for your health.
Dandelion is most often thought of as a pesky weed that takes over in lawns, gardens, meadows, and even pops up in cracked sidewalks and pavement. It is invasive and pervasive. Lucky for us, it is also an excellent food and herbal medicine that anyone can find, grow, and put to use. Dandelion is a very rich source of beta-carotene which we convert into vitamin A. This flowering plant is also rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. It is a good place to get B complex vitamins, trace minerals, organic sodium, and even vitamin D. Dandelion contains protein too, more than spinach. It has been eaten for thousands of years and used to treat anemia, scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, and depression. Seeds grow readily in your garden, planter boxes, or pots. If you collect them wild, try to choose ones you know have not been subjected to pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals. The ones in your lawn are not the best. Pick them instead from a mountain meadow or abandoned lot. Seeds can be bought or you can gather them from the familiar puff balls you see each summer. Dandelion leaves can also be found fresh in some health food markets or as a freeze-dried herb. Dandelion tea, capsules, and tinctures are also available.
Digestive Aid – Dandelion acts as a mild laxative that promotes digestion, stimulates appetite, and balances the natural and beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
Kidney – This weed-like superfood is a diuretic that helps the kidneys clear out waste, salt, and excess water. This inhibits microbial growth in the urinary system too.
Liver – Dandelion has been shown to improve liver function by removing toxins and reestablishing hydration and electrolyte balance.
Antioxidants – Every part of the dandelion plant is rich in antioxidants that prevent free-radical damage to cells and DNA, slowing down the aging process in our cells.
Diabetes – Recent animal studies show promise that dandelion helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels.
High Blood Pressure – As a diuretic dandelion increases urination which then lowers blood pressure. The fiber and potassium in dandelion also regulate blood pressure.
Cholesterol – Animal studies have shown that dandelion lowers and control cholesterol levels.
Gallbladder – Dandelion increases bile production and reduces inflammation to help with gallbladder problems and blockages.
Inflammation – Dandelion contains essential fatty acids and phytonutrients that reduce inflammation throughout the body. This can relieve pain and swelling.
Immune System – Animal studies also show that dandelion boosts immune function and fights off microbes and fungi.
Dandelion leaves, flowers, and roots are all edible. They have a slightly bitter flavor that can be minimized by harvesting them in the fall or spring. Cooking cuts the bitter flavor as well though the leaves make a great addition to raw salads.
Dandelion is generally considered safe in food and medicinal levels. Some people may have allergic reactions to dandelion. Anyone with an allergy to ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, or daisy should avoid dandelion and anyone pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs should talk to a health care professional before adding something new to their diet.
About Charlie Pulsipher
Charlie Pulsipher is a health and fitness enthusiast, writer, author, and neighborhood do-gooder. He shifted his education from Biochemistry to English Literature in an attempt to avoid math, but never stopped loving the natural world of the miniscule. He has published several fantasy and science fiction novels and helped others publish more down to earth books about natural foods. He can’t stop writing. He is probably happily tapping away on some keyboard even now.
– See more at: http://www.sunwarrior.com/news/11-health-benefits-of-dandelion-and-dandelion-root/#sthash.0qYIucCd.dpuf
Also from http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com/green-smoothies/10-reasons-you-should-use-dandelion-greens-in-your-green-smoothie/
Dandelion greens are my number one choice for a smoothie green. Not only do they provide a higher amount of calcium and iron than most cultivated greens, they have a wide array of health benefits that make them the perfect all around nutritional boost.
Here are ten reasons you should use dandelion greens in your next smoothie.
#1 – High in Calcium: Dandelion greens are loaded with calcium. Just one cup of chopped dandelion greens has 103 milligrams (10% of the recommended daily value) of calcium! That’s slightly more than kale! Add two to three cups of dandelion to a smoothie with calcium-rich fruits like orange, kiwi, fig or papaya and you’ll have a green smoothie that has more calcium than any dairy product!
#2 – Rich in Iron: Next to fresh parsley, dandelion greens have a high iron content. One cup contains 1.7 milligrams of iron.
#3 – Low Calories: Like all leafy greens, dandelions are low in calories. One cup of chopped dandelion greens has only 25 calories. While leafy greens are a low calorie food, I actually prefer to use dandelions because they have more calories than other greens. Since I try to get as many calories as I can into my morning smoothies, I add up to 4 cups of dandelion which adds 100 calories of nutrient-rich food!
#4 – Loaded With Antioxidants: Dandelion greens are high in vitamin A in the form of antioxidant carotenoid (beta-carotene) and vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps facilitate iron absorption.
#5 – The Ultimate Detox & Cleansing Green: If your goal is detoxification and cleansing, dandelion greens should be the ones you use in green smoothies! They are said to help cleanse the liver and many detox recipes call for them.
#6 – Lots Of Minerals: Dandelion greens are rich in minerals. Besides calcium and iron, they are a good source of copper (10% RDA), manganese (8% RDA), phosphorus (5% RDA), potassium (5% RDA) and magnesium (5% RDA).
#7 – 14% Protein: Dandelion greens have more protein per serving than spinach. The greens themselves are 14% protein and contain all essential amino acids so it’s a complete protein. One chopped cup contains 1.5 grams of protein.
#8 – Multivitamin Green: Besides vitamin A as beta-carotene (186% RDA) and vitamin C (21% RDA), each cup of chopped dandelion greens are also good sources of vitamins B1 (9% RDA), B2 (11% RDA) and B6 (11% RDA), vitamin E (13% RDA) and especially abundant in vitamin K (357% RDA).
#10 – Health Benefits of Dandelion Greens: The nutrients in dandelion greens may help reduce the risk of cancer, multiple sclerosis, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and stroke. Dandelion contains anti-inflammatory properties which may provide benefit to those with asthma and other inflammatory diseases.
How To Select And Store Dandelion Greens
While dandelion greens can be found at health food stores, co-ops and farmers markets, they are probably widely available during the spring and early summer months in your own backyard.
Select unblemished, dark green leaves or bunches when purchasing them in the store. When foraging, young greens that are harvested before the flower head appears will be less bitter.
Commercially cultivated dandelion greens may have whitish/green or red stems. The leaves are highly perishable. I store them in the fridge in a large plastic tub with a piece of paper towel to absorb excess moisture and condensation. They will keep for 2-4 days this way. If you store wet leaves in a produce bag, they will likely only last a couple days.
The dandelion greens that you find in the store are typically organic. If you forage for dandelion, be sure to harvest them from land that has not been treated with pesticides, herbicides or other contaminants. Avoid harvesting dandelion greens from urban or industrial waste lots as heavy metals (lead, mercury) and other pollutants in the soil might be absorbed into the plant.
How To Use Dandelion Greens In A Green Smoothie
Dandelions are bitter, so it makes sense to blend them with fruit to mask the flavor. I recommend blending dandelion greens with sweet, flavorful fruit like banana, strawberries, mango, citrus and pineapple.
I use up to 4 cups of chopped greens in a single smoothie recipe. If you are trying dandelion for the first time, start with a small handful or 1 cup of chopped leaves.
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