So I hope you treated your liver – and your tastebuds – to some delicious cruciferous veggies and leafy greens over the past few days! And did you try my Green Slaw with Thai Dressing recipe that I shared with you in my last blog? So good…and it will help your body detox and reset for spring.
Today I am continuing my review of my 5 favorite natural cleansing foods.
Ready for my next favorite detox food?
Hint: You see this plant popping up literally everywhere in the spring. Its flowers open with the sun in the morning and close in the evening or during gloomy weather. When I see this plant show up after the cold winter months it is always a great reminder that it is time to do a bit of personal detox after being stuck indoors all winter.
I’m talking about Dandelion, another potent cleanser for your system.
When I am feeling sluggish I often reach for some dandelion tea.
Dandelion stimulates the bile and liver. Bile is produced in the liver and is important as it supports your body’s ability to filter and detoxify your blood.
Because dandelion is a diuretic (makes you pee) it also stimulates the release of toxins via your urine.
You may not have even realized dandelion could be good for you! Many people view it as a weed; you can see it growing in fields and along highways. Some of you may remember picking dandelions as a child and blowing (for good luck!) on the wispy strays that top the plant’s stem.
If it brings good luck, that is likely due to dandelion’s abilities as an effective toxin cleanser!
The entire dandelion plant is cleansing.
The root it what is usually found in detox teas. The root is also good for helping with jaundice, gallstones, hepatitis, scurvy, alcoholism, and enlargement of the liver and spleen.
To make dandelion tea (you can use just the roots, or add the flowers as well), just steep for about 30 minutes in boiling water (you can leave the roots and flowers in your tea or strain them depending on your preference).
The leaves are also detoxifiers. Although they have a somewhat bitter taste, they are nourishing and cleansing additions to salads, smoothies, soups and other dishes. Careful though, a little goes a long way. It’s considered an aperient, which means it gently moves the bowels.
I love to put dandelion in a green smoothie with some frozen fruit; it is quick, delicious and healthy. If you are new to making smoothies, watch my video on an easy start to this healthy habit.
Here’s a very simple recipe for a Quick and Easy Green Smoothie using dandelions (or your favorite greens):
- Greens – baby spinach, spring mix, and dandelion greens (or other favorite greens)
- Frozen fruit – organic is preferred, maybe tropical fruit is an idea
- 1/2 cup pure, filtered water
- Put water into blender; add frozen fruit, then greens. Your greens should be about 70% of the mixture. Fill the blender up!
- Start out slowly; then gradually move to a high speed on your blender. If you have a tamper, use that to push the ingredients down.
- Adjust taste if needed. Pour into a glass and drink. I usually drink 2 large glasses of green smoothies a day.
If you want to harvest dandelion yourself, just remember to pick plants that have not been sprayed with any type of weed killer or pesticide, or that may be near a busy road that has exposed to a lot of pollutants.
If you learn to incorporate cruciferous veggies, leafy greens and dandelions into your diet, you can help balance your hormones, detox your body and re-energize, just in time for all your new springtime adventures.
Can't wait to share the third of my 5 favorite natural cleansing foods with you in my next blog. The recipe for this next blog will make you want to lick the bowl!
With love and appreciation,
Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo
Can you tell me if the Texas dandelions (the ones with the smaller flower) growing in my (unsprayed) garden have edible leaves that work the same as the dandelions with the big, fat flowers? I’ve searched the web without getting a good answer. Currently I buy my dandelion greens at the farmer’s market, but it would be nice to walk out to my kitchen garden and harvest some leaves.
Hi, M.J., Wild dandelions are one of my daily staples. I’ve managed to keep them alive and reproducing in my garden all summer in the past, and I hope it’s the same this year. It is not hard to do since they are one of the most pernicious weeds in the world – good thing they’re edible! Dandelions, no matter where you grow them, are super-nutritious greens packed with vitamins A & C, calcium, and potassium. While working in the garden after a big meal, I might munch on a few leaves since the bitterness helps with digestion. I also like to add the leaves to my salads, stir-fries, and smoothies.