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Harvest Your Dandelions

By Emily Lindholm

They were once considered one of the peskiest weeds and still are to many people.  If you still want to pull them up, go ahead, but you may try keeping them and putting them into your next salad or smoothie!  Did you know that you can use dandelions as medicine?  Dandelions, especially their roots and flowers, have medicinal benefits.  Their wide array of medicinal properties has them included in many products and supplements.  Read on to discover the benefits of this infamous "weed" and how it's better to harvest than to toss out.  

A Nutrient-Dense Food

From the roots and stems, leaves, and up into the flowers, dandelions are loaded with nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Eat them raw or cooked and receive this excellent source of Vitamin A, B, C, K, and E.  Yes, they contain many letters of the alphabet.  They're also high in folate and minerals, such as iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. 

Highly Antioxidant

In today's modern world, antioxidants are very important.  They help protect our cells against damage and aid in the reversal of oxidative stress.  Dandelions contain high levels of beta-carotene and polyphenols, both of which can provide protection for our cells and help us heal from our exposure to toxins and stress that can both cause toxic overload in the body.  

Help With Inflammation

Inflammation is a natural response in the body as a way to begin the healing process, but often we experience too much inflammation because of our modern diets and lifestyles.  This can cause damage to our tissues and DNA.  When inflammation is present, due to disease, infection, or injury, dandelions can help reduce it when there has become too much.  The polyphenols found in dandelions help support the body's natural healing process, which naturally reduces inflammation.  

How to Consume Dandelion

Now you may be wondering, how do I eat a dandelion?  It may not look or sound the most appetizing.  That could be due to the reputation it has received as a pesky weed, but it's true that it can taste sort of bitter.  If you're eating it raw, I'd recommend chopping up some leaves and adding them to a salad with other greens and possibly some cranberries or something sweet so that the flavor of the dandelion greens is not overpowering.  

When the flowers are present, it's great to start the day with dandelion tea.  Pick off the flowers and add them to hot water.  Let them steep with some honey and maybe even some lavender if you've got it.  This is best in the morning to open up your detox pathways!  

As for the roots, these are best added to soups or smoothies. Eat these when the flowers are not present.  In this case, the nutrients make their way down into the roots, making it the most nutrient-dense portion.  Most supplements you see on the market are made from dandelion root.  Supplements are a great way to go if you're not sold on harvesting and preparing them yourself!  

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Rialto, Calif.  

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