Dandelion Tea Can Boost Your HealthBy Paul Rothbart
Dandelions are ubiquitous, popping up on lawns throughout the spring and summer. For children, it's fun to play the wishing game in which they make a wish and then blow on the dandelion, scattering the seeds and inadvertently helping them flourish. For homeowners, dandelions can be a source of frustration as they seek to remove the weeds in the quest for a perfect lawn. What you may not know is that dandelions have been used as herbal treatments for many ailments for centuries. Science has found that dandelion tea has health benefits.
Antioxidants are powerful plant compounds that help prevent chronic diseases such as cancer. Molecules called free radicals to exist in the body and attack cells, damaging them. The cells may mutate and cause many different diseases. Antioxidants fight free radicals, destroying them and protecting cells. Dandelions contain beta carotene and polyphenols, strong antioxidants that prevent oxidative stress in addition to fighting free radicals. This can help slow the aging process.
Manage Blood Sugar Levels
Dandelions contain chicoric, chlorogenic acid, and other bioactive compounds. Research has shown that these substances may aid the pancreas in secreting insulin and helping muscle tissue absorb glucose. This improves sensitivity to insulin. The bioactive compounds may also slow the body's digestion of starches. Taken together, this can help to lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Lower Cholesterol Levels
The bioactive compounds in dandelions have more than one trick up their sleeves. They may also help reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. This can help reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Studies conducted using rabbits and mice as test subjects found that the animals that were fed dandelion extract showed lower cholesterol levels even when fed other high-cholesterol foods. Further research must be done on human subjects but there is enough evidence to suggest a link between drinking dandelion tea and lower cholesterol.
Improves Liver Health
Research using mice and other animals has found evidence that suggests dandelions may help the health of the liver. One of the mouse studies found that subjects that were given acetaminophen, which can damage the liver, were protected by the antioxidants in the dandelions. Other studies found that dandelion extract reduced excess stores of fat in the liver, lessening oxidative stress. Although the results show promise, studies using humans must be conducted for further data.
Dandelions are an annoying weed to many people. However, they are edible and do have health benefits. The next time you are clearing your lawn of weeds, think about brewing some tea with the dandelions. It might improve your health.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Huntington Beach, Calif.