Do you have a true superfood just growing in your backyard? You may think of dandelions as just a weed with a flowering yellow top – but they’re much more than that. It’s not the yellow flower we’re interested in, but the green leaves below. Today we’re looking at dandelion greens health benefits.
This article will look at what dandelion greens are, the health benefits associated with them, and ways to consume them.
What Are Dandelion Greens?
Before looking at the dandelion greens health benefits, here’s a quick rundown on what the plant actually is. They are a dark leafy green that is a nutrient powerhouse. It’s easy to think of the dandelion as a flower, but it is actually more like a herb because of its leafy greens. They peak from around the start of spring to mid-summer.
Choosing dark leafy greens is one of the smartest health moves you can make. Leafy greens – the darker the better – are filled with phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In the case of dandelion greens, they may be one of the best leafy green choices in existence.
Dandelion greens could almost be considered a plant multi-vitamin. Here are just some of the things they contain:
- Beta carotene
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
5 Powerful Dandelion Greens Health Benefits
1. Dandelion Greens Are Very Cleansing
Dandelion greens can provide a holistic health benefit as they have the ability to cleanse your body. They are able to support the digestive system making your body better at absorbing nutrients.
All the nutrition in the world doesn’t mean much if you can’t properly digest it. They say that “you are what you eat.” The truth is, you are what you absorb, and dandelion greens help your body to absorb the nutrients that help to cleanse it.
2. They Reduce Inflammation In The Body
Inflammation can be a very damaging thing. It’s ok in a small amount like when you get a cut on your finger. The redness and swelling you experience is inflammation doing its job. But it’s only good in small amounts. The problem with inflammation is that it can happen inside of you, but you don’t notice it the way you do that cut on your finger.
When inflammation goes on for a while, you’re looking at some pretty nasty problems. Chronic inflammation can lead to things like:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- autoimmune disease
- celiac disease
A lot of research is showing that inflammation may be at the route of all diseases, and dandelion greens help to combat this. They contain chemicals that act as anti-inflammatory making it a great option to avoid the dangers of inflammation.
3. Dandelion Greens Are Full Of Antioxidants
One of the great health benefits of dandelion greens is their high antioxidant content. When the body gets a build-up of too many free radicals, it can lead to things like DNA damage, premature aging, and certain types of cancer.
Antioxidants help to combat the free radicals keeping you as healthy as possible. You get this health benefit because of the beta carotene contained in the greens. Beta carotene is a noted antioxidant that helps protect the cells from free radical damage.
4. They Can Help Regulate Blood Sugar
Dandelion greens benefit your health for a few reasons: the first is that they have antihyperglycemic properties. The next is that high antioxidant content which is important for balancing blood sugar. And the last big reason is the anti-inflammatory properties.
All of these things work together in creating havoc with blood sugar levels and dandelion greens provide the compounds to properly regulate it.
5. Dandelion Greens Can Boost The Immune System
This is one of the most powerful dandelion greens health benefits. They have the ability to keep your immune system as strong as possible so you can fight off disease, germs, and infections.
Research has shown that they help to do this as the leaves contain antiviral and antibacterial properties. A study from 2014 found that dandelion greens help to slow the growth of hepatitis B in human and animal cells.
What Are The Best Ways To Use Dandelion Greens For Their Health Benefits?
You will find dandelion greens in most farmers’ markets, but they are starting to pop up in many grocery stores. You should find them alongside things like Swiss chard or kale. They do have a bitter taste so that can take some getting used to.
These leaves work best in addition to other ingredients. They can easily be added into a salad, soups, or stews. They also can be sauteed with garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. These sauteed greens can work well with eggs, with bean dishes, and even added to pasta.
When choosing dandelion greens, make sure they are firm and as green as possible. You don’t want wilting or discolored leaves. The smaller the leaves, the more mild the flavor will be, so keep that in mind when choosing them.
They only last a couple of days so need to be used quickly. To get the most life out of them, wrap them tightly in a plastic bag and store in your vegetable drawer in the fridge.
Final Thoughts On Dandelion Greens
With these amazing health benefits you can get from dandelion greens, you may never look at this “weed” the same way again. They are not only very affordable but easy to use and can add a unique new flavor to your cooking. Ideally, you’re eating a lot of dark leafy greens anyway, but dandelion greens should now go to the top of that list.