You read that right. Dandelions, generally known as weeds, should be eaten. Dandelion greens have more vitamin A than any food except cod liver oil and beef liver! They are also rich in calcium, potassium, vitamin K and fiber.
They are also beneficial in easing digestion, decreasing inflammation, aiding in detoxification and eliminating water retention.
Many grocery stores offer cultivated dandelion greens during the spring, or you can grow and harvest your own. Every year I get so excited as my garden begins to come back to life after a long winter. The very first greens to start popping out of the dirt are my dandelions. Some people would quickly get out the shovel and dig them out or spray on the Round-up. Not me! I love watching the dandelions grow. I harvest them for salads, toss some leaves into my morning smoothie or layer them on a lettuce wrap sandwich. My son uses them to feed Smaug his bearded dragon and if we can’t keep up with their production, I wash them, let them dry, bag them and freeze them for future smoothies.
Green leafy veggies offer you more bang for your buck as far as nutrient content goes and if you’re looking to save a buck or two, now is the time to check your garden and flower beds for some fresh dandelion greens. Just be certain that your dandelions do not come in contact with any fertilizers or pesticides and are away from any exhaust fumes.
“Eat your Vegetables!”
We have all heard this advice and I’m sure deep down we know that it is true. The question is, are we eating enough veggies?
Every health agency and nutritional guru recommends at least 3-5 servings of vegetables per day. In a recent study published by the CDC research shows that overall only 9% of the US population meet the daily recommendations for vegetables.
If you need to increase your vegetable consumption, leafy greens are a good place to start. They are superstars of nutrition and eating 2 cups of leafy greens will help you get your recommended servings.
The following are excellent reasons to include leafy greens in your diet:
Contain the highest amounts of Vitamin K. Vitamin K essential for the blood to clot and for bone strength and density. It’s also rich in flavonoids, compounds that work as antioxidants and cancer-fighters.
Rich in Vitamin A. Vitamin A aids in the growth and repair of body tissues and is also essential for the proper function of the immune system.
Excellent source of Vitamin E. As a potent antioxidant, Vitamin E protects the cell membrane of every cell in our body.
Some of my favorite leafy greens are: