You are what you eat! And, the vibrant, sunlight-infused, highly adaptable dandelions are a reminder of how much goodness you can bring to your life if you consume the right foods!
Dandelions have a high nutritional value and are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, and minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. What’s more, they are known to support digestive health. And did you know that they can be easily consumed in various forms?
Health benefits of dandelions
Dandelions and dandelion extract are often used as a traditional treatment for problems of the liver and gallbladder. This plant may accelerate bowel movements and have a modest laxative effect which may help relieve constipation and help the elimination of toxins from the body. The plant is also known to enhance the production of digestive enzymes and the absorption of nutrients. Dandelion is also believed to boost the generation of bile, which is important for digestion and fat absorption.
Furthermore, fresh, green dandelions may help maintain a healthy gut microbiota by fostering the growth of a form of dietary fibre that feeds the good bacteria in the stomach, called inulin, which is considered a prebiotic.
Moreover, this small yellow flower is also packed with antioxidants, which can help the body fight against oxidative stress and improve immunity.
How to consume dandelions
Dandelions are highly available and there are various ways to introduce them into your diet. If you decide to pick your own plants, be sure to pick them from a clean place where they haven’t been touched by pesticides and chemicals.
Here are our favourite tips:
Even though fresh dandelions have a bitter taste, you can hardly feel that when they are drunk as part of a tea. On the contrary, they make a delicious herbal tea which can be consumed as such, or with lemon or raw honey.
Pick dandelion leaves, wash them and let them dry thoroughly until they become crumbly. Keep them in an air-tight jar. To prepare the tea, add a tablespoon of dry dandelion leaves to a cup of hot water and let it infuse for 10-15 min. Strain the tea and enjoy!
Salads don’t have to be boring. If you use a combination of greens and herbs, it can transform a simple side dish into a complex culinary experience. And the underestimated dandelions might be just what you need to bring your salad to another level.
If you like arugula, you will find that dandelion leaves are just as delicious in salads. It’s hard to believe that the two greens – which have a similar taste and shape – are actually not related. Still, it’s important to mention that dandelion leaves have a more intense bitter taste than arugula, making them similar in taste to endives as well.
To prepare your salad, use a base of mildly flavoured salads – such as iceberg, baby spinach, or lettuce – and add a handful of freshly picked, well-washed dandelion leaves. To balance the bitter taste, add dried berries like cranberries or blueberries, or even raisins. Bring the whole salad to life with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper!
Pesto is an amazing raw sauce, which can be added to pasta, used as a dip, spread, or dressing. You can replace the classic basil with young dandelion leaves. Feel free to add other leafy greens to taste – like arugula or spinach – if you feel that dandelions on their own are too bitter. Add your greens to a blender together with pine nuts or almonds, lemon juice, a couple of garlic cloves, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Make it an extra special pesto rosso by adding sun-dried tomatoes!
Potent dandelion extract
If you want to benefit from the dandelions’ properties in a concentrated form, you can add a couple of drops of pure extract into your water, tea, or smoothie. We love the Dandelion Root extract from Nature’s Answer, which is alcohol-free and gently extracted in order to preserve all the qualities of the plant.
Using the same steps as for tea, pick, wash, and dry your dandelion leaves. Grind them in an electric grinder until you get an ultra fine powder. You can add a tablespoon of this powder to your warm or cold drinks, stir until it mixes well with the liquid, and drink it.
Decorative edible flower
You need just a couple of petals of the vibrant yellow dandelion flower to decorate your salad, soup, or even dessert in a simple, yet exquisite way. Pick some petals and place them on the salad for extra colour, or place them in the shape of a flower on top of a cake. You can form these mini flowers on cream soups as well. Use your creativity and have fun!