Among the most nutrient-rich wild plants for foraging, the humble dandelion should never be overlooked. Widely available and easy to prepare, this nourishing wildflower is packed with vitamins, minerals and more.
Health Benefits of Dandelions
The dandelion is a veritable powerhouse of health benefits. Every part of the plant plant is edible, from flower to root, and every part contains valuable nutrients.
By adding this green to your diet, you may improve bone health, lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, regulate blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, promote digestive health and reduce the risk of cancer.
Key Nutrients Found in Dandelions
Vitamins & Minerals
1. Vitamins A, C & K
Especially high in vitamin A, dandelions can support healthy vision, a strong immune system and reproductive health. The vitamin C content may aid in tissue repair, wound healing, iron absorption and tooth and bone health. The vitamin K helps to produce prothrombin, a vital protein for blood clotting, which promotes fast healing.
2. Vitamins E & B9
Dandelions are also a source of vitamin E, which acts an antioxidant and promotes healthy skin, hair and vision, proper cell function and a strong immune system.
Vitamin B9, commonly known as folate or folic acid, makes the dandelion a support to nutrient absorption, healthy red blood cells and general cell production and maintenance. Studies suggest that folate may also help prevent cancer.
3. Essential minerals
Dandelions contain several essential minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Add this green to your diet to support proper blood oxygen levels, good blood pressure, strong bones, healthy teeth, muscle function, nerve health and fluid balance.
1. Soluble fiber
This plant is also a wonderful source of soluble fiber, which aids in proper digestion. Plant based fiber may also help regulate glucose levels and lower cholesterol.
Antioxidants, like the beta-carotene, polyphenols and Luteolin found in dandelions, can help your body fight against cell damage from excessive free radicals.
Adding Dandelions to Your Diet
How do you incorporate dandelions into your diet? Here are a few popular ways to prepare this healthful plant:
1. Make a salad
Leaves and flowerheads alike can be used in salad, and the sunshiny yellow petals make for a bright, cheerful display.
2. Precook for better taste
Dandelion leaves may taste bitter, somewhat like endive, or have an arugula-like spiciness. If you find the flavor too harsh, mellow it out by parboiling your greens.
3. Sauté or dry fry
After parboiling, you can sauté or dry fry dandelion greens. Try it with olive oil and garlic or onions.
4. Dandelion root tea
You can make tea from any part of the dandelion, but the root is the most commonly used part for tea.