Poor dandelion greens have been playing the understudy to spotlight-hogging kale for several seasons now. And while we don’t expect you to give up your kale addiction for bitter-yet-beloved dandelion greens any time soon, they should play a role in your healthy diet.
So say healthy chefs and wellness experts who love them for their natural detoxing properties and loads of nutrients that are known for radiant skin, diminishing bloating, and banishing PMS. We asked four experts across the wellness spectrum—from celeb nutritionist Keri Glassman to star chef Candice Kumai—for more intel on why they’re fans of dandelion greens and how to incorporate them into meals more often. —Melisse Gelula
Susan Curtis, natural health expert and skin-care guru, Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Medicines Director, co-author of Healing Foods
“Naturopaths see skin as a reflection of inner health,” explains Curtis, “and the key to a glowing, clear complexion is healthy digestion and detoxing.” That’s where dandelion greens come in. “They’ve historically been used to cleanse—their bitterness supports liver health while their potassium helps flush impurities via the kidneys and urine. Their chlorophyll helps cleanse, alkalize, and balance. While their vast list of replenishing phytonutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and vitamins including A, B, C and D, have such a beneficial action on clearing and beautifying the skin. As for how to eat them, the leaves are totally delicious wilted with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon or in a green juice.”
Keri Glassman, celebrity nutritionist, founder of Nutritious Life, and author of several books including The New You (and Improved) Diet and Slim Calm Sexy Diet.
“I love dandelion greens! They are liver detoxifiers and they’re great for bloating. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that dandelion greens caused significant increase in urine output in the 5-hour periods after consumption. (Excuse the TMI.) You can make dandelion tea by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1 to 2 tsp. of dried dandelion leaves, sautée or steam them, or add them to an omelet.”
DIETARY AND CULINARY SUPER-BOOST
Candice Kumai is the author of Cook Yourself Sexy, Pretty Delicious and www.CandiceKumai.com
“Dandelion greens provide a major super-boost in your diet. They’re packed with antioxidants, minerals, calcium, iron, fiber, vitamins, beta carotene, and lutein. I frequently cook with them to make sure I’m getting their amazing health benefits. They are very bitter (brace yourself!), so I suggest pairing dandelion greens with some flavors to balance the bitterness, like some sweet corn, a touch of honey, some balsamic vinegar, and so on. I also love adding them to my smoothies! These delicious greens can help you to stay as gorgeous on the inside as you are on the out.” (Check out this article for a recipe from Kumai that uses dandelion greens and leftovers!)
Acupuncturist Mary Sabo, L.Ac, is Assistant Clinic Director at the YinOva Center in New York City
“In Chinese Medicine, bitter greens are associated with the heart and the fire element. And the dandelion plant specifically is used medicinally to treat infections.
It’s also a liver detoxer, meaning it’s ideal for those who are hot-headed, irritable, prone to PMS or headaches, need to exercise to get energy, and love coffee and need wine—all of Manhattan!
I personally love the Dandelion-Kale Salad from Organic Avenue or you could eat dandelion greens in a salad or take them as a supplement.”