This ancient, edible and free weed, believe it or not, has multiple health benefits. It can be eaten raw or cooked much like you would use spinach, aids digestion and supports good gut health, which lacks in our diet today. Bridget talks you through this incredible edible weed and throws in one of her favourite smoothie recipes.
The common garden dandelion is highly regarded all over the world for its numerous health benefits. It is one of the world’s oldest medicinal plants and has been used extensively since the ancient times in both Ayurveda and Greek traditions, which date back 5000 years BC, and dandelions are just as relevant in today’s modern world.
Dandelions, thankfully have remained genetically unchanged unlike many other plants, making them highly medicinal and very effective for a multitude of health related conditions. And, of course, they grow everywhere, are entirely free and are especially delicious in spring and early summer. They can be eaten raw or cooked much like you would use spinach and they provide the very necessary bitter element which aids digestion and supports good gut health, which sadly lacks in our diet today.
Picking and using your dandelions also solves the problems of weeds and chemical weed killers, which wreak havoc on our environment. So pop your nasty weed killer away, enjoy the sunshine and go outside to collect dandelion, a wonderfully and highly nutritious little ‘weed’ and one of the healthiest things around.
The whole plant is edible, flowers, leaves and roots. Dandelion greens have a bitter taste, which, according to the ancient practice of Ayurveda, makes them the perfect vegetable to incorporate into your diet. Make a salad with them, sauté them in olive oil, juice them up, or throw them into your smoothie.
1. They are a brilliant liver tonic: Dandelion greens are excellent at supporting the liver and kidneys to effectively do their job especially during the silly season when our livers have often worked over time! Dandelion is a natural diuretic, which means they help expel excess water from your body when you are feeling bloated or have fluid retention.
2. They’re filled with antioxidants: Specifically vitamin A and C in dandelion greens help protect your body from free radical damage, which helps lessen your risk of inflammation and disease. Vitamin C is one of the best treats you could ever give to your immune system.
3. They’re high in calcium: There are significant levels of calcium in dandelions this means dandelion greens work to strengthen your bones and teeth, and help optimize the function of your heart, nerves, and muscles. Just make sure you’re also getting an adequate supply of vitamin D in your diet (good quality meats, fats and eggs) this is necessary to absorb the calcium along with 20 minutes of sunshine everyday.
4. They reduce swelling and inflammation: Lots of foods are acidic creating inflammation in our bodies which can lead to ill-health. This is why it's incredibly important to make sure we have enough alkaline producing foods in our diet. Alkaline foods are predominantly greens, vegetables and fruits, along with healthy whole grains.
-A bunch of fresh coriander
-Fruit of choice, but I like apple or pear, seasonal berries are great too
-A handful of dandelion greens, you can also add the flowers if you wish
-Coconut or plain water
Pop all the ingredients into your blender, add a little ice if you wish (and a dash of honey if you prefer a sweeter brew) and whiz away until combined, Serve immediately and enjoy the healing nourishing benefits of our sunny faced friends!