All parts of the dandelion plant are edible. What’s the best way to eat dandelion greens?
What parts of dandelions are edible?
There are many species of dandelions. The most common are Taraxacum officinale and Taraxacum erythrospermum. Dandelions are also called Taraxacum.
Dandelions are edible weeds. All parts of the plant are edible. The leaves, stem, flower, and even the root are all edible.
Dandelion leaves are great raw in salads. Cooked stems taste amazing in pies. Roasted root is a traditional coffee alternative in some countries. Moreover, dandelion flowers are used to the production of tea, wine, honey, and beer.
Health benefits of dandelions
Dandelion is a plant with powerful medical potentials. Mainly, due to, its anti-hyperglycemic, anti-oxidative, and anti-inflammatory properties (1).
Moreover, dandelion has powerful bioactive components, such as polyphenols, sesquiterpenes, triterpenes, and phytosterols:
- polyphenols are phytochemicals with powerful antioxidant properties. Polyphenols may protect us against many chronic diseases, such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, or cardiovascular diseases. Only plants are foods rich in polyphenols.
- sesquiterpenes deliver oxygen to cells. Most noteworthy, sesquiterpenes are molecules that can decrease the progression of cancer (2). Mainly are found in plants.
- triterpenes are compounds found in plants. Triterpenes have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, and antitumoral properties (3). Moreover, triterpenes boost the immune system. Plants that have triterpenes could be considered medical plants. Dandelion can boost immune system. Furthermore, triterpenes seem to have wound-healing properties (4).
- phytosterols are plant sterols. They are similar to cholesterol, but phytosterols lower blood cholesterol absorption. Above all, phytosterols may lower the LDL-cholesterol. Moreover, phytosterols can reduce coronary heart disease, without the side effects of drugs (5). Here you can see the list of the richest foods in phytosterols.
Dandelion plant is considered traditionally as a medical plant. Recent studies proved the amazing health benefits of dandelion.
For instance, the dandelion root extract can be used against certain types of cancer, such as melanoma. Scientists have shown that dandelion root extract fights several types of cancer efficiently (6,7).
Nutritional value of dandelion greens
Dandelion greens are low in calories. 100 gr of dandelion greens has only 45 calories.
Moreover, dandelion greens are rich in protein. 2.7% is protein.
Certainly, dandelion greens are high in dietary fiber, as well. 100 gr contains 3.5 gr of fiber.
According to the USDA, dandelion greens are especially high in calcium, iron, vitamin K, vitamin C, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin (8):
- calcium. Dandelion greens are particularly high in calcium. 100 gr has 187 mg of calcium. Cow’s milk isn’t the best option for calcium intake. On the contrary, there are many plant-based foods rich in calcium. Even fruits are rich in calcium. Dandelion greens are certainly a good source.
- iron. 100 gr of dandelion greens has 3.1 gr of iron. That’s 38% DV (Daily Value). Only a few plants are richer in iron. Women have much higher iron needs than men. Therefore, dandelion greens are perfect for them.
- vitamin K. 100 gr of dandelion greens has 778 mcg of vitamin K. That’s more than our daily vitamin K needs.
- vitamin C. Dandelion greens are a good source of vitamin C, as well. 100 gr has 35 mg of vitamin C. That’s 46% DV. As vitamin C is important for protecting from viruses and boosting the immune system, try to eat as many foods rich in vitamin C, as you can.
- beta-carotene. Dandelion greens are particularly rich in beta-carotene. 100 gr contains 5854 mcg of beta-carotene. Only a few foods, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, are richer in beta-carotene.
- lutein and zeaxanthin. Most noteworthy, dandelion greens are the richest food in lutein and zeaxanthin. 100 gr has the astonishing amount of 13610 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin.
Dandelion greens are good for your eyesight
Certainly, dandelion greens are particularly rich in beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
According to the American Optometric Association, we should consume foods rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamin E, and vitamin C (8).
Therefore, eating dandelion greens is important for good eyesight. They contain vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene.
Most noteworthy, dandelion greens are the number 1 food rich in lutein and zeaxanthin (9). By far…
Other foods good for your eye health
Additionally, you can boost your omega-3s intake, eating flaxseeds, flaxseed oil. Moreover, as omega-3s are important for overall health, consider taking EPA and DHA supplements from algae.
Finally, consider consuming a tablespoon of organic moringa powder. Among other health benefits, moringa powder is good for your eyesight. It’s the best source of beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Additionally, moringa powder is high in vitamin C and vitamin E. A true superfood…
Can you eat dandelion greens raw?
Certainly, you can eat dandelion greens raw.
They are great in salads or sandwiches.
Dandelion greens have a bitter taste. You’ll love it, if you love the taste of arugula.
Are dandelion greens good for you, raw or cooked?
You can eat dandelion greens either cooked, or raw.
Prefer to eat them raw, though.
Eating dandelion greens raw preserves all the nutrients. For instance, vitamin C is extremely vulnerable to heat. Therefore, cooking could destroy most of it.
So, better eat dandelion greens raw, whenever possible.
How do you get rid of dandelion greens bitterness?
If you don’t like the bitter flavor of dandelion greens, rinse them thoroughly with cold water.
It’s better to rinse them in running water. The compounds that make dandelions bitter will leach into the water.
Certainly, it’s a good practice to use other herbs and spices with strong flavors in recipes, such as garlic.
Last, but not least, you can blanch dandelion greens, if you prefer them cooked. Blanching dandelion greens for a couple of minutes, will soften the bitterness.
Can you eat dandelions every day?
Dandelions have low toxicity (1).
They have no toxins or alkaloids. These are plant compounds that usually can be toxic.
Furthermore, studies on animals showed no sighs of toxicity, even to higher doses of 6 grams per kg of body weight.
However, allergic reactions are possible. So, be careful, especially if you have any other allergies.
In any case, start eating dandelion greens once a while. Just to be sure.
Why you should grow dandelions in your garden?
Dandelions are considered to be stubborn weeds, by most gardeners.
Certainly, dandelions withstand rush conditions. You can’t get rid of them without herbicides.
They have a tap root, that goes deep in the soil. Even if you don’t eat dandelions, they can provide nutrients to other shallow-rooting plants.
Furthermore, you can harvest dandelions every year, as it’s a perennial plant. If you don’t cut out the tap root, the dandelion leaves will grow back.
Moreover, birds eat dandelion seeds.
Finally, dandelions provide nectar for bees, and other pollinators. It’s important for these insects. Dandelions provide food to insects early in the season, along with only a few other plants.