I’ve noticed in nutrition discussions both here and elsewhere that Vitamin K is one of the most elusive of the lot, not easy to track nor to get your quota of it.
It’s springtime in Manitoba and the DANDELIONS have gone nuts this year. They are all over my farmyard by millions. I eat a few of the greens, but prefer other wild greens that are less bitter. However, I discovered that the BLOSSOMS are not bitter but slightly sweet when the “petals” (flowerets actually) that in one or two days will be annoying floating dandelion seeds are plucked from the flowering head – I discovered they taste great with peanut butter and jelly, so I pull the petals off of 20 or 25 of them and stick them on top of the PB and then glue them down with marmalade, or raspberry jam, or whatever – yum!
Digging in my garden today I forked out several big dandelion roots, and on a whim boiled them and incorporated them into my supper. Whilst searching the calorie-counter websites (in vain) for the energy content of dandelion roots, I stumbled upon some fascinating facts:
Dandelion herb health benefits
Fresh dandelion greens, flower tops, and roots contain valuable constituents that are known to have anti-oxidant, disease preventing,
and health promoting properties.
Fresh leaves are very low in calories; providing just 45 calories per 100 g. It is also good source of dietary fiber (provide about 9%
of RDA per 100 g). In addition, its latex is a good laxative. These
active principles in the herb help reduce weight and control
cholesterol levels in the blood.
Dandelion root as well as other plant parts contains bitter crystalline compounds Taraxacin, and an acrid resin, Taraxacerin.
Further, the root also contains inulin (not insulin) and levulin.
Together, these compounds are responsible for various therapeutic
properties of the herb.
Fresh dandelion herb provides 10161 IU of vitamin-A per 100 g, about 338% of daily-recommended intake, one of the highest source of
vitamin-A among culinary herbs. Vitamin A is an important fat-soluble
vitamin and anti-oxidant, required for maintaining healthy mucus
membranes and skin and vision.
Its leaves are packed with numerous health benefiting flavonoids such as carotene-β, carotene-α, lutein, crypto-xanthin and zea-xanthn.
Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A and flavonoids
(carotenes) helps body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Zeaxanthin has photo-filtering functions and protects retina from UV
The herb is good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of
cell and body fluids, which helps regulate heart rate and blood
pressure. Iron is essential for red blood cell production. Manganese
is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme,
It is also rich in many vital vitamins including folic acid, riboflavin, pyridoxine, niacin, vitamin -E and vitamin-C that are
essential for optimum health. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural
antioxidant. Dandelion greens provide 58% of daily-recommended levels
Dandelion is probably the richest herbal sources of vitamin K; provides about 650% of DRI. Vitamin-K has potential role in bone mass
building by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It also has
established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by
limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
Dandelion herb contains notable nutrients and is a great source of
nutrition during winter.
This humble backyard herb provides (%of RDA/100g)- 9% of dietary
fiber, 19% of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), 20% of Riboflavin, 58% of
vitamin C, 338% of vitamin A, 649% of vitamin K, 39% of iron and 19%
of calcium. (Note: RDA-Recommended daily allowance)
SO – if you are at all concerned you might not be getting enough Vitamin K, just go out into the yard, look for the yellow flowers and the notched leaves, and START GRAZING! 650% of your Vitamin K RDA in every 3.5 ounces! And really, the blossoms are delish with peanut butter!
(Probably off-topic as hell unless I start putting dandyflowers in my Soylent, but talk about an easy solution to worries about an obscure vitamin…wow!)