Dandelion Greens Health Benefits

Fresh dandelion greens.

Most people consider the dandelion a weed that they want to remove from their gardens, especially when they overrun their lawns; but I can’t wait for spring to eat them! I have been eating dandelion greens for years. 

Dandelion greens can be found at health food stores and farmer’s markets. Also you can find dandelion plants in the spring in your own front or backyard. If you are planning to pick wild dandelions make sure they have not been treated with any pesticides, herbicides, or other toxic products. 

Fresh dandelion nutrition content per 100 grams (3.5oz) serving.

Dandelion Origin

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) plants originated from Europe and Asia and today are prevalent in North America, South America, Australia and many other parts of the world. “Dent-de-lion” means lion's tooth in French, a reference to the tooth like shape of the plant’s leaves. Dandelion greens are a member of one of the largest plant families that also includes sunflowers, daisies, and thistles.

Fresh dandelion mineral content per 100 grams (3.5oz) serving.

Dandelions Are a Great Source of Minerals

Dandelions are good source of minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, and zinc. Per 100 gram (3.5oz) serving, dandelion greens contain 19% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium, which your body needs to maintain strong bones and teeth. Dandelion greens contain 16% of the RDA of iron per 100 gram serving, which your body needs to make hemoglobin to transport oxygen throughout your body.

Dandelions are a Rich in Antioxidant Vitamins 

Dandelions are highly nutritious plants rich in antioxidants, which help fight disease and neutralize free radicals. Dandelions are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. Per 100 gram serving, dandelion greens contain 203% of the RDA of vitamin A, which helps your body maintain healthy skin and vision. Dandelion greens contain 973% of the RDA per 100 gram serving of Vitamin K, which makes proteins for normal blood clotting and healthy bones. Dandelion greens contain 58% the RDA of vitamin C per 100 gram serving, which is slightly more than a similar serving of orange juice.

Fresh dandelion vitamin content per 100 grams (3.5oz) serving.

Dandelions are a Good Source of Protein and Fibre

Dandelion greens are a good source of protein, containing almost the same amount of protein as spinach per 100 gram (3.5oz) serving. Per 100 gram serving, dandelion greens contain 3.5 grams of dietary fiber. Dandelion greens are a good source of the prebiotic fibre inulin which boosts the immune system, produces friendly bacteria in your stomach, improves digestion, makes you feel full, and helps relieve constipation. 

Dandelion Side Effects 

Dandelions are generally considered safe when they are consumed as a food in non-medicinal amounts. People who have known allergies to related plants such as daisies, ragweed, and chamomile could also be allergic to dandelions.

Dandelion plant seed head in a field.

Dandelion Gardening Tips

Dandelion is a perennial plant. After you harvest the plant it will grow back year after year. It can be planted in your garden or in containers on your deck in the spring or after the last frost. Grow or plant your dandelions near the kitchen to be handy when cooking. Dandelions can be harvested from spring to fall and can be stored fresh, dried, or frozen. Dandelions can be grown either from seed or with root segments. Dandelions prefer full sun but will grow in just about any light. 

Fresh dandelion leaves in a bowl.

They don’t need fertilizer or watering, and they will grow anywhere in any condition without a lot of maintenance. Dandelion seeds can be bought or you can gather them from the heads of existing plants once they transform into the familiar puffballs you see each summer. Soak the dandelion seeds in warm water before sowing them in your garden to speed up germination. When you sow the seeds in your garden simply drop the seeds and press them lightly into the soil and spray them well with water. Seedlings should appear above the soil within two to three weeks after the seeds were sown.

Hindibeh bi zeit Lebanese sautéed dandelion dish topped with caramelized onions.
Hindibeh bi Zeit

Dandelion greens have a little bitter flavor that can be minimized by picking them early in the spring before the plant flowers or by cooking them. You can eat dandelion leaves just like kale or spinach, raw in salads, sandwiches, soups, and smoothies. Dandelion greens are also delicious in the Lebanese stir-fry dish Hindibeh bi Zeit, sautéed and topped with caramelized onions. 

Add dandelion greens to your diet to benefit from their many healthy nutrients and to add color and flavor to your recipes. 



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