Dandelion, taraxacum officinale, is said to have originated in the Central Asian region. This golden yellow coloured flower plant from the sunflower family has long-jagged dark green leaves and grows to a height of 45cm. Dandelion leaves, roots and flowers are edible. Here then, are the various health benefits dandelion greens.
Health Benefits 1: Nutrients Rich
Dandelion greens contain various minerals and vitamins such as vitamin A (186% RDA) vitamin C ((21% RDA), D, B complex (9% RDA), B2 (11% RDA) and B6 (11% RDA), vitamin E (13% RDA) and Vitamin K (357% RDA).calcium, iron, sodium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous. One cup of cut dandelion greens provides 103 milligrams of the recommended daily allowance ofcalcium.Additionally, dandelion greens provide a good source of protein and has over centuries been used to treat a myriad ailments such as blood didorders, depression and deficiency diseases such as scurvy.
Health Benefit 2: Promotes Digestion
Apart from acting as a mild laxative and balancing beneficial bacteria in the intestines, dandelion greens aids in the digestion process by increasing appetite.
Health Benefit 3: Kidney Health
Dandelion leaves act as diuretic, aiding the kidneys eliminate waste, salt, and excess water. As a result, microbial growth in the urinary system is deterred.
Health Benefit 4: Liver Functions
By promoting removal of toxins and maintenance of a hydration and hydration balance, dandelion greens play an important role in keeping the liver’s function at optimum. It also promotes a healthy gallbladder by increasing production of bile hence lowering inflammation and blockages common in this organ.
Health Benefit 5: Source of Antioxidants
Dandelion greens contain plenty of anti-oxidants which an important role of stopping damage occasioned by free radicals. Free radicals cause damage to body cells and DNA, leading to onset of aging.
Health Benefit 6:Anti-Cancer
The anti-oxidants and phytonutrients in dandelion greens aid in combating cancer. Not only do they slope cancer growth, they also stem their spread in the body. The flavonoids in dandelion leaves such as carotene-β, carotene-α, lutein, crypto-xanthin and zea-xanthin fight various types of cancers such as lung and oral cavity cancers. In particular, Zea-xanthin protects our eyes from UV rays by filtering out light.
Health Benefit 7: Combats Diabetes
Studies have shown that dandelion leaves play a role in regulating blood sugar, hence reducing the risk of developing diabetes. Being diuretic plants, they encourage more urine production and reduce blood pressure, thank to the potassium and fiber in them which assist in achieving this function.
Health Benefit 8: Reduces Cholesterol
Dandelion greens reduce Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) or bad fats, in the body. These fats clog the blood vessels thereby causing cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attack.
Health Benefit 9: Anti-Inflammation
The essential fatty acids and phytonutrients in dandelion greens not only remove pain and swelling, but also relieves inflammation in the affected body parts. Dandelion leaves block interleukins among other immune molecules that cause inflammation. Studies have shown that dandelion greens to a large extent inhibit nitric oxide, prostaglandins and cytokines, all of which cause inflammatory.
Healthy Benefit 10: Boosts Immune System
Studies involving animals have shown that dandelion greens are capable of destroying fungi and microbial bacteria and as a result, promote a healthy immune system.
Image Credit : Leon Brooks