Are Dandelions The New Kale?

Writer: Farah Karim

If you’re a millennial who’s all about hashtag: healhtyliving, then you’re probably aware of the fact that kale has been one of the most popular superfoods of this decade. It isn’t just rich in nutrients like vitamin C, B6, potassium and magnesium but also filled with antioxidants that protect you against the effects of ageing, heart disease as well as cancer.

However, dandelions have recently stole the spotlight from kale, becoming the new go-to superfood of 2019. These little flowers aren’t just weeds in your garden but bulbs that are full of vitamins and minerals. Young dandelions provide excellent salad leaves while larger, older leaves become bitter.

Source: RTE

What’s so good about dandelions?

The botanical name for this little plant is Taraxacum officinale in which the word ‘officinale’ means “used in medicine”. Even in ancient times dandelions were considered a medicinal plant and were recognised for their health benefits. They’re not just filled with vitamins like vitamin A, C and K, but also have tons of minerals within its leaves which includes iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Like kale, they also contain antioxidants like beta-carotene which is known to give protection against cellular damage and oxidative stress.

If you’re someone concerned with your blood sugar and cholesterol, this plant has also proven to improve insulin secretion while improving the absorption of sugar in muscle tissue.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to try! It’s generally inexpensive when compared to taking other supplements and is safe to eat so you don’t have to worry about any risks and side effects.

Source: Pixabay/Pexel

What’s the best way to consume this plant?

While the leaves, stems and flowers can be eaten raw, taking it in the forms of powders, capsules and liquid extracts would give you a more concentrated dosage while making sure the effects are fully incorporated into your body. There’s no actual dosage guideline but according to research, it’s good to take at least 5 grams of the raw plant daily but if you’re taking liquid extracts or powder, you might have to take it twice or three times a day for the full effect.

You can mix dandelion powder into your smoothie, glass of warm milk or in overnight oats. You can also try dandelion root tea or add some of the leaves in your salad. If you aren’t convinced, here are some dishes you can try.

View this post on Instagram

I haven't been feeling great since I got back to Toronto from Whitehorse. I caught some annoying sinus thing which made me pretty tired and haven't been particularly hungry and only eating one meal a day (mostly avocado on Ezekiel bread and raw baby cucumbers, and a whole massive bag of dark chocolate peppermint cremes because I was feeling sorry for myself). So, now that I'm feeling better I'm getting back into nourishing my body. For breakfast I had scrambled eggs and stir fried dandelion leaves. I wasn't feeling well enough to go out and get groceries so I ordered from @grocerygateway (amazing service, fresh produce, I highly recommend) again, who to my amazement had dandelion leaves. Dandelion greens are not everyone's cup of tea as they can be rather bitter but to counteract some of that you can soak the leaves in cold salted water for 10mins then boil in salted water for about 8mins. I then stir fried it lightly with some olive oil, salt and pepper. I happen to like the bitterness plus I love knowing how nutritious they are too. They're full of Vitamins A, C, K, E, folate and are high in iron.

A post shared by Eat Your Seeds (@eatyourseeds_) on

Be careful!

Simply plucking them out in the wild might be dangerous as there are different types of dandelions that aren’t safe for consumption. Store bought dandelions are good enough and much safer to consume as they have to adhere to health guidelines and regulations.

If you’re taking any medication at the moment, it’s good to consult with your doctor about taking any new supplements. Other medications might have a reaction to this plant and you don’t want to risk it.