The spring rains have left your lawn a vibrant green, and you’re working hard to maintain its lush look. However, it seems that no matter how often you’re out there, the second you turn your back, those yellow-headed, pesky weeds pop up on your lawn, turning your immaculate plot of perfection into an eyesore.
Well, it might just be time to stop viewing dandelions as pests, and start to view them for what they really are—nutrient-rich plants.
Did you know that dandelion greens serve up almost a full multivitamin and mineral supplement and that dandelions have twice the amount of iron as spinach?
Dandelion leaves are packed with vitamins A, B, C and E and are a rich source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron and zinc. Dandelion greens are a perfect slimming food, and similar to arugula in flavour, dandelion’s slight bitterness can be offset by sautéing them with onions.
Still Skeptical? Let’s explore six reasons to consume these weedy wonders. (And don’t worry, if you’ve already rid your garden of these super weeds, they are also available at grocery stores!)
Dandelion helps clear urinary tract infections
Dandelion leaf is a diuretic, meaning it promotes urination thereby helping weight loss without side effects. It also removes toxic substances from the kidneys and the entire urinary system. Plus, its disinfectant properties inhibit bacterial growth, preventing future UTIs.
Dandelion helps clear acne
Acne is often caused by hormonal changes. During hormonal fluctuations, your sebaceous glands secrete extra oil. When mixed with dead skin, your pores can get blocked, preventing
toxic substances from escaping. This blockage causes infection and results in acne. The diuretic and detoxing nature of dandelion helps to regulate hormones, facilitating the removal of toxins
through sweat, bile and urine.
Dandelion nourishes your blood
One cup of dandelion greens has 1.7 mg of iron, twice as much as spinach! It has almost 10 per cent of your daily Vitamin B, 32 per cent of your daily vitamin C, plus omega-3 fatty acids and protein. While iron is an integral part of hemoglobin in your blood, vitamins B and C are essential for the formation of red blood cells, helping to reduce anemia (an iron deficiency).
Dandelion can reduce blood pressure
Dandelion leaf, being diuretic in nature, increases urination (both in quantity and frequency) thus helping lower high blood pressure. The fibre in dandelion is also helpful in reducing cholesterol, and dandelion juice is high in potassium, which is effective in lowering blood pressure by replacing sodium.
Dandelion improves gut health
Research has found that consuming dandelions makes it easier for your body to receive the nutrients it needs by soothing the stomach lining and helping the gut absorb more minerals. The plant boosts lactobacillus, which helps absorb nutrients and break down food, increasing the natural probiotic properties of the body.
Dandelion reduces inflammation
Chronic inflammation plays a part in numerous ailments and health concerns, including cancer and heart disease. Lab studies have shown that by consuming dandelions, you can reduce inflammation in your body. This is because they contain a compound called taraxasterol, which is known for having significant antioxidant properties that combat inflammation.
How To Eat Dandelions
Dandelions are a no-waste plant, meaning every part of the plant is edible from the roots all the way to the flower.
The greens: As mentioned before, dandelions have a similar taste to arugula, so they make a great addition to salads. If you’re looking to take away the bitterness, soak the leaves in cold water for about 10 minutes before boiling them until tender and finishing them off with a sauté.
The flowers: Use the flowers either fresh or dried to make tea. Feeling adventurous? Try making dandelion wine with the flowers. These vibrant petals can also be used in salads or other dishes as a garnish. Simply pluck the little petals and sprinkle them onto your meal.
The roots: Substitute your morning cup of coffee by roasting the roots of the plant. What you get is similar in look and taste to your favourite morning beverage. Chop off the leafy part of the plant and roast the roots in the oven until dried. Then boil the dandelion roots with any spices you may choose and what you’ll have is your new favourite beverage great for digestion.
Hopefully now when the “pesky” plant pops up on your lawn, rather than frustration, you will feel excitement knowing the delicious and abundant benefits of this secret nutritious plant.
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Read This Story in Our 2023 Summer Outdoor & Travel Issue
Featuring Alison Jackson, Canadian cyclist and only North American male or female to win the famed Paris Roubaix. Travel the country’s most stunning hot spots by campervan. Become a better trail running by improving your ascents and descents—plus, train outdoors with Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers. Enjoy plant-based summer recipes and so much more.