Q: What health benefits do Dandelion Greens offer?

A: Dandelion greens are one of the most highly recommended vegetables! Folk medicine claims the dandelion plant is a powerful healer, used to purify the blood and settle digestion. Dandelion greens are one of the most nutritious leafy vegetables you can buy. They have more protein per serving than spinach – in fact the greens themselves are 14% protein and contain all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Dandelions support digestion, help purify the blood, reduce swelling and inflammation, treat viruses, gout, eczema and acne. Dandelion greens have high levels of Vitamin A, K, Calcium and Iron, which strengthen bones, possibly play a role in fighting Alzheimer’s, and provide the body with antioxidants that are particularly good for the skin and vision. They are also known to protect the body from lung and mouth cancers.

When selecting the greens at the store, look for unblemished dark, green leaves. They are highly perishable. You can store them in the fridge for up to 4 days, in a large plastic tub with a piece of paper towel to absorb excess moisture and condensation.

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Consider using dandelion greens in your next smoothie – they have more calcium than kale and they are great for detoxification and cleansing the liver.

Give this a try: add 3 cups of dandelion greens to a smoothie with orange juice, kiwi and frozen papaya. Since the greens can be bitter, try different combinations by blending them with flavorful sweet fruits like banana, strawberries, pineapple and mango. You can even try dandelion root tea found at Whole Foods.

Follow these links for a few easy ways to cook dandelion greens:

If you have a question that you would like to ask Ann, email it to contact @ annpelino.com.