One of the first signs of spring is indicated by the sprouting of common weed-like plants called dandelions. These are known for their medicinal properties and packed with versatile ingredients with a wide range of health benefits. Besides having a refreshing flavor, dandelion greens add color to salads and other side dishes.
- The dandelion greens have a high nutrition profile full of fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin K.
- Every serving of the dandelion greens have shown to enhance heart health, support liver function, and also help in weight loss.
- The most common forms of dandelion greens are the T-officinale and T-erythrospermum.
- They have yellow and orange colored flowers that open during the daytime and stay close at night.
- They are very small flowers and are usually collected together as a flower head or florets.
Dandelion greens are found worldwide, especially in parts of Eurasia. These plants are named dandelion from the French word dent-de-lion that means the lion's tooth. They are a part of the daisy family and the taraxacum species. These plants have relatively long leaves and extend from 5 to 25 cm.
If you find dandelion greens at your garden, try breaking the stem. A white liquid may spur out. When the flower matures it becomes a white ball containing many seeds. People think of dandelions to be weeds and get rid of them once they start growing in the yard, but actually, the dandelion plant is a beneficial weed.
It helps bring important nutrients to the soil, helping the shallow-rooted plants by adding minerals and nitrogen. It attracts pollinating insects and releases a gas called ethylene that helps the fruits of the garden to ripen faster.
Nutrition facts of the dandelion
Dandelion greens have many nutrients and are found abundantly in gardens. It contains a good amount of fibre, vitamin A, vitamin K and vitamin C. 1 cup, approximately 55 grams of chopped dandelion greens can give a good amount of vitamin K, for up to 428 micrograms, Vitamin A of 5588 international units, and other nutrients that include proteins, fats, vitamin E, manganese, calcium, and iron.
Vitamin B complex minerals such as riboflavin, niacin, folate, thymine, and other minerals that include zinc, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium are abundantly present in the dandelion greens.
Vision Health And Improvement
Dandelion greens are an important source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is important when it comes to eye health. Vitamin A deficiency in the body leads to blindness and also in severe cases, a higher intake of vitamin A is proven to lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration and eye diseases that cause vision loss.
If you can include dandelion roots or the entire herb at least thrice a week in your diet and along with other vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables, it will help you with better vision and also improve any of the eye abnormalities that you may be suffering from.
These herbs are low in calories and just have 25 calories in 55 grams of chopped dandelion plants. They contain a good amount of fiber that helps in keeping the tummy full. It also promotes saturation of what you eat, thereby reducing hunger. It further helps in the process of weight loss.
These are great fat absorption herbs. In a similar way to some weight loss drugs, it works by blocking the activity of bile secreted from the pancreas. The bile is responsible for breaking fat molecules. Dandelion greens, when had regularly along with physical exercises and other nutrition in the diet, will help to optimize fat absorption and lose weight faster.
Water Weight Decrease
If you suffer from water retention symptoms, dandelion greens help to counter them. They have natural diuretic properties and increases urination to prevent water build-up. However, pregnant women have not advised dandelion herbs because they already suffer from excessive urination.
If you suffer from any of the autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, or arthritis, your medication itself makes it possible for you to urinate frequently. Make sure to consult a doctor before adding dandelion greens to your diet in order to reduce bloating.
Low Levels Of Triglycerides
Besides acting as a potent weight loss ingredient, by inhibiting the activity of bile, secreted from the pancreas, it also helps in lowering down the triglyceride levels. The triglycerides are fat found in the bloodstream. Having a high triglyceride level in the blood increases the risk of heart disease.
Dandelion greens have shown to reduce the activity of pancreatic bile, which breaks triglycerides into fatty acids. This increases the exertion of triglycerides and reduces the level of triglycerides flowing into the bloodstream.
Dandelion greens are the same thing as dandelion roots, and they have powerful properties that help in protecting the liver. It helps in preventing oxidative damage and inflammation that causes excessive damage to the liver. Antioxidant foods like these greens generally help in decreasing damage caused by free radicals thereby preventing liver diseases.
Possible Side Effects
- Some people are not advised dandelion greens because they also trigger allergic reactions and produce side effects that cause digestive issues, itching, redness, or swelling.
- If you experience any of the side effects after consuming dandelion greens, discontinue using it immediately and consult your doctor.
- For those who are on blood thinners like warfarin, should not consume dandelion greens either, as it is highly rich in vitamin K, which can impact the clotting of blood.
- Maintaining the use of medications makes it able to work effectively, therefore avoid making major changes to your diet without consulting the doctor.
Dandelion greens are known as natural diuretics and consuming high amounts may intervene with medication such as lithium. If you are on lithium medications, it's best to be on the safe side and avoid consuming dandelion greens. It is a versatile, delicious, easy to enjoy food that can be added to different dishes to enhance the color and outlook of the same, thereby adding nutrition to the entire meal.