I Can Eat Those Pesky Dandelions?


As I watched my neighbour, Adriane, and her family dig out dandelions on their front lawn, it inspired a new blog topic that fits very nicely with my Digestion series. Dandelion leaves, believe it or not, are edible. In fact they are highly nutritious. They are rich in vitamins A and K, some of the B vitamins and many of the minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. They are also very cleansing for the body and detoxifying for the liver.

The liver has a number of different functions including metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins; storage of nutrients; and detoxification of the blood. It also plays a key role in digestion. The liver manufactures bile, which is stored in the gallbladder. When we eat any kind of fat, the gallbladder is stimulated to secrete bile into the intestinal system (the duodenum to be exact, if you know what that is). There, it starts to break down fat into smaller particles for absorption into the lymph system and ultimately the blood stream for distribution and use.

If you eat a lot of fatty foods and “non-foods” like toxins (e.g. pesticides), medication, alcohol, caffeine and aspartame, your liver will become heavily burdened trying to make enough bile and eliminate all those toxic substances from the body. Adding dandelion leaves to your diet is a wonderful way to support these activities and lessen the burden.

You can buy dandelion leaves at the grocery store or you can harvest them in fields or your own backyard. If you decide to pick your own, they are tastiest before the yellow head appears and most bitter when they go to seed.  Also, please make sure they are coming from an area that has not been sprayed with herbicides in past.

Here are 5 ways you can use dandelion leaves:Dandelion

  1. Add them to a smoothie – the greens are bitter so you may want to add just a handful to start
  2. Make a salad – whenever a recipe calls for arugula, such as my Beet and Arugula Salad, or other bitter greens, you could sub in or add dandelion leaves
  3. Sauté them with other greens such as collard, mustard, kale or spinach – add olive oil and garlic to the pan
  4. Add them to pasta dishes – again, wherever you see greens added to a pasta dish, sub in dandelion leaves or follow a recipe such as this one: Linguine with Mussels and Dandelion Greens
  5. Steep them into tea – steep a teaspoon of the dried leaves in a cup of boiling water and add lemon, honey or fresh mint leaves

Next time you are cursing the dandelions in your front yard, instead of hauling them into the yard waste bag, bring them into the kitchen and start detoxifying your liver.

  • Categories: Digestion

    1 Comment

    • Lynn Paterson says:

      Well, you just might convert me to eating dandelions instead of fighting with them! Thanks for this new view on the weed.

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