You probably recognize dandelions as those persistent yellow flowers which insist on popping up all over your nice green lawn.
Before you know it they become round white time bombs just waiting for the next puff of wind or eager child to release another hundred dandelion seeds across your yard, making them impossible to stay ahead of.
Fortunately, there’s a bright side. Dandelion greens and roots alike carry several major health benefits. Today let’s talk some of the nutritional benefits gained by eating the leaves of the plant.
High in fiber to help you stay regular, dandelion leaves also serve as a mild diuretic which can help with fluid retention from PMS or urination difficulty caused by bladder infections.
Dandelion leaves are a tremendous source of vitamin K, important for blood clotting, with 535% of the U.S. RDA per cup of greens. Since long-term use of antibiotics can lead to a vitamin K deficiency, dandelion greens are an excellent choice post-treatment. Just wait until your course of antibiotics is complete before eating too many as dandelion may impede absorption of antibiotics into your bloodstream.
You’ll discover one cup of raw dandelion greens provide a full 112% of your daily RDA of vitamin A, vital for healthy bones, keen eyesight and a strong immune system. They pack in nearly a third of your daily RDA in vitamins C, E, B2 and B6. Plus they’re rich in minerals including calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, magnesium and boron (which raises blood levels of estrogen to help preserve bone strength).
Vegetarians and vegans will be happy to learn dandelions are high in protein, with essential amino acids comparable – or better than – red meat, poultry and eggs.
And like most healthy greens, dandelion leaves are diet friendly, weighing in at only 25 calories per cup.
So when it comes to dandelions… if you can’t beat them, eat them. Just remember to pick them from a yard not treated with chemicals or buy them at your local organic grocer.
Dandelion greens, raw. SELFNutritionData. 2014.
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Ghaly A, Mahmoud N, Dave D. Nutrient Composition of Dandelions and Its Potential as Human Food. American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology. 2012, 8 (2), 118-127.
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