Add This to Your Smoothie to Detox, Improve Digestion, and Help Prevent Cancer

Monday Nov 17 | BY |
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Dandelion greens

Dandelion greens should be in your green smoothie!

A recent survey reported that nearly a third of Americans are leery of green juices, with 28 percent actually fearing the sight of them!

Yet according to a 2013 report from the USDA, Americans still aren’t getting even half of the recommended daily servings of vegetables and fruits. Even millennials—many of whom have jumped on the healthy eating bandwagon—are still not consuming enough. A 2014 study found that a third of them were concerned about their low level of fruit and vegetable consumption.

Renegade Health readers are likely to be doing better than most, and probably enjoy green smoothies on a regular basis. Even they may be missing one key ingredient, though.

Dandelion greens.

Have you added these into your blender lately? Here’s why you might want to.

10 Benefits of Dandelions

You may have fond memories of picking fresh dandelion greens and steaming them up for a nice side dish. Or you may imagine dandelions as no more than those invasive weeds that plague your lawn. Either way, it’s time to give dandelions a place in your diet, and the easiest way to start is by throwing them into your smoothie. (The root also makes a great tea!) They’ll help provide the following benefits:

  1. Strengthen your bones: Dandelions are a great source of calcium. One serving gives you four times as much as you’ll get from broccoli. If you’ve eliminated dairy from your life, add dandelions to make up for the calcium slack. One cup of chopped greens has ten percent of the recommended daily value. The nice thing about juicing is you can add even more than that without really noticing it. Two to three cups will bring your calcium content up to a third of what you need for the day.
  2. Detoxify: Anytime we talk about detox, we talk about dandelions. They have a reputation for helping cleanse the liver and assist in its function. The roots and leaves were used in traditional medicine to treat liver problems, and herbalists recommend them for the same purpose. A 2010 animal study found that dandelion leaf water extract helped reduce liver inflammation and damage. Preliminary research also suggests that dandelion may help improve liver function.
  3. Improve digestion: Dandelion can help improve upset stomach, and smooth the digestion process. It’s also recommended for mild constipation.
  4. Prevent cancer: A 2010 study confirmed that dandelion had antioxidant effects and that they helped stop liver cancer cells from proliferating. An earlier 2008 study found that dandelion leaf extract decreased the growth of breast cancer cells, and blocked prostate cancer cells from invading tissue. Researchers also found in 2011 that dandelion root extract induced cell death in leukemia cells, and that it also caused cell death in drug-resistant cancer cells without damaging healthy cells.
  5. Slow aging: Dandelion is loaded with antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C, which can help slow the aging process and keep cells healthy.
  6. Provide a nutrient boost: Dandelion contains calcium, iron, copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and is a great source of vitamins A and K. It also contains vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E. If you’re trying to choose between greens, remember that dandelions have more calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin K as broccoli. They contain twice as much iron and three times as much riboflavin as spinach. They also give you 17 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E.
  7. Support good eye health: Dandelions have 13,610 international units (IUs) of lutein and zeaxanthin per 3.5-ounce serving. Both of these nutrients are critical for long-term eye health and to help prevent age-related macular degeneration.
  8. Natural chelation: Dandelion contains pectin, a type of fiber that not only stimulates good digestion, but has been known to bind to toxins—particularly heavy metals—and usher them out of your system. It may also help lower cholesterol, though research is still preliminary on that.
  9. Stay full: Dandelion is great for a morning smoothie, as it helps you stay full and satisfied. You’ll find more protein in a serving than you will in spinach! One cup contains 1.5 grams of protein, complete with all essential amino acids.
  10. Won’t pad your waistline: Like most leafy greens, dandelions are low in calories. One cup of the chopped leaves adds only about 25 calories to your juice.
Best Way to Combine Into Your Smoothie

Raw dandelion greens are bitter, so a good smoothie recipe blends in other ingredients that help mask the flavor. Here are some ideas:

  • Blend in some flavorful fruits like bananas, berries, mangos, apples, pears, and/or pineapples.
  • Start out using one cup, and then add more as you wish.
  • If you’re making a green smoothie (without much fruit) and want a sweeter taste, add a little stevia, honey, or maple syrup.
  • Try a little cinnamon and/or parsley to add flavor without sweetness.
  • Yogurt and coconut milk (or water) can help add some healthy fat to the juice.

Do you have a favorite dandelion smoothie recipe? Please share with our readers!

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Sources
“28% of People Fear the Sight of Green Juices,” Shape, February 12, 2014, http://www.shape.com/blogs/shape-your-life/28-people-fear-sight-green-juices.

“Americans Are Concerned about Poor Eating Habits,” Barna Research Group, July 15, 2014, https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/677-americans-are-concerned-about-poor-eating-habits#.VEAi52TF8Vk.

Chung Mu Park, et al., “Amelioration of oxidative stress by dandelion extract through CyP2E1 suppression against acute liver injury induced by carbon tetrachloride in Sprague-dawley rats,” Phytotherapy Research, September 2010; 24(9):1347-1353, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.3121/abstract.

Menghini L., et al., “Antiproliferative, protective and antioxidant effects of artichoke, dandelion, turmeric and rosemary extracts and their formulation,” Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. April-June 2010; 23(2):601-10, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20646355.

Sigstedt SC, et al., “Evaluation of aqueous extracts of Taraxacum officinale on growth and invasion of breast and prostate cancer cells,” Int J Oncol. May 2008; 32(5):1085-90, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18425335.

Ovadje P, et al., “Selective induction of apoptosis through activation of caspase-8 in human leukemia cells (Jurkat) by dandelion root extract,” J Ethnopharmacol, January 7, 2011; 133(1):86-91, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20849941.

Chatterjee SJ, et al., “The efficacy of dandelion root extract in inducing apoptosis in drug-resistant human melanoma cells,” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2011; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21234313.

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story, a northwest-based writer, editor, and ghostwriter, has been creating non-fiction materials for individuals, corporations, and commercial magazines for over 17 years. She specializes in the health and wellness field, where she writes and ghostwrites books, e-books, blogs, magazine articles, and more.

Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness. Her fantasy novel, “Rise of the Sidenah,” was released with Jupiter Gardens Press in September 2015. Her literary novel, “Loreena’s Gift,” is forthcoming in spring 2016 from Dzanc Books. She lives in Idaho. www.colleenmstory.com

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