How to use dandelions in recipes and the health benefits

I find that sometimes when I buy dandelion at the store someone will ask me how I cook with it and what kind of recipe I am using it in. It’s something that easy to add nearly into any recipe and they have a huge health benefits. Dandelions are more than just pesky weeds that are a nuisance in your backyard and they have way more to offer than just wishes. Dandelion and dandelion roots and leaves can be used as food and herbal medicine. This herb offers a number of health benefits and has been used by many doctors and patients around the world. Dandelion infused in tea is also known to offer many beneficial effects. Dandelion tea can help reduce appetite and curb cravings, thus speeding up your weight loss program. Dandelion, which literally translates to ‘lion’s tooth’, is a rich source of Vitamin A and C.

Nutritional Facts of Dandelions
Dandelions are rich in anti-oxidants, such as Vitamin C, that helps clear the body of harmful toxins
Dandelions are rich in vitamins, such as Vitamin A, K, C and E
Dandelion leaves are low in calories and are a great alternative to salad leaves
Dandelion leaves are high in dietary fiber
Dandelions leaves and flowering plants are rich in potassium, sodium, calcium, iron and boron
Dandelion roots aid in the purification of blood
Also used by naturopaths as a liver cleanser

Health Benefits of Dandelions

Better Bone Health
Believe it or not, dandelions are more than just floral ornaments for your centerpiece. Dandelions are known to be rich in calcium including anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C and Luteolin that play a huge role in protecting the bones from age related damage.

Increased Weight Loss
Luckily for you, dandelions are diuretic in nature, which means they promote urination, helping you lose ‘water weight.’ The herbs are also low in calories and can also be used as a healthier alternative to artificially manufactured sweeteners because of their sweet taste, all without packing pounds.

Promotes Better Digestion
Dandelions act as mild laxatives and aid in balancing the good and natural bacteria in the intestines. Dandelions may increase secretion of bile, aiding in the process of digestion, especially in digesting fats as bile emulsifies fat into tiny molecules so they can be absorbed easily.

Skin Care
Apart from its medicinal uses, dandelions can also be used for treating skin diseases that be caused by microbial infection. Dandelion sap is highly alkaline, making it an effective germicide or insecticide. However, one should take caution before applying dandelion sap on their skin. Avoid the areas around the eyes and talk to your doctor about it. Allergy to the sap can be quite severe.

Inflammation
Many harmful diseases are caused as a result of inflammation. Dandelions contain essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants that aid in reducing inflammation throughout the body. Dandelions are used all around the world to help relieve pain and swelling.

Curbs Liver Disorders
Dandelions are rich in anti-oxidants, such as Vitamin C and Luteolin, which help the liver function perfectly. These compounds prevent liver disorders and help prevent hemorrhaging. Dandelions have been known to improve liver functioning by removing toxins. In addition, dandelions help boost hydration and electrolyte balance. Dandelions also aid in increasing the production of bile and maintaining the proper flow of bile. This makes dandelions an excellent cure for jaundice, a liver disease which is caused due to increased production of bile.

Promotes Healthy Immune System
Over the years, dandelions have been found to boost immune function. Dandelion tea contains powerful chemical compounds that clear toxins from the body, enhancing the immune system’s ability to destroy infectious diseases.

How to Use Dandelions
To get the health benefits of dandelions you can add them to your meals. Understand that dandelion flowers, leaves and roots are all edible but they have a slightly bitter taste. The young leaves are comparatively less bitter and are ideal for using in raw salads. In addition, cooking dandelions may help eliminate the bitter taste.

How you can use dandelions in recipes:
When buying them at the grocery store I highly recommend you look for organic leaves.

Salads: The young and tender dandelion leaves and flowers are an excellent choice for salads. The leaves are a unique alternative to spinach and provide a number of health benefits.
Tea: Dandelion roots are commonly used for medicinal purposes but can also be used for making dandelion tea and coffee. This is a healthy alternative to caffeine.
Cooking: In addition to using young dandelion flowers for making salads, dandelion flowers can also be used making fritters and other dishes.
Sauteing them in a pan with a little love oil and garlic along with another green like swiss chard or spinach is actually really good.
Soup Just adding little of the leaves chopped up can be added to any soup along with any other vegetable.

Warning: While use of dandelion as a medicine or for cooking is generally safe, some people may suffer from allergic reactions. People who are allergic to ragweed are mostly allergic to dandelions as well. You should contact your doctor before using herbs for medicinal and weight loss purposes. Pregnant women are generally advised to avoid using medical herbs during pregnancy without consulting their doctor.