Saturday, May 14, 2016

Dandelion Root: The Ingredient Your Smoothie is Missing

By Michelle Schoffro Cook
Now that smoothies are all the rage, I am regularly asked what type of smoothies I drink. I always tell people dandelion smoothies are my all-time favorite. It’s no joke: they’re not just great from a health perspective but they are absolutely delicious too. By now, I’m used to peoples’ eyes bugging whenever dandelion smoothies are the topic of conversation, but I always ask people to give roasted dandelion root smoothies a chance. First, let me share that dandelion has been undergoing extensive research, especially at Canada’s leading medical university for its potent anti-cancer properties (published in the journal Molecules). It has even been effective against chemotherapy-resistant cancers! These types of cancers don’t respond to chemotherapy. Both dandelion root and greens are serious liver boosters as well. Research in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that dandelion helps to protect the liver against damage from other drugs, including painkillers like acetaminophen. And that’s just the beginning of dandelion’s therapeutic properties. It is high in the essential but mostly overlooked mineral boron that is necessary for bone-building, it purifies the blood and is even a powerful natural antibiotic. But even if you’re just interested in a delicious smoothie, adding roasted and ground dandelion root is tastes similar to an iced and blended coffee. Here’s how to make it: Ingredients 2 cups almond milk ½ cup raw, unsalted cashews 1 teaspoon honey or a dash of stevia (optional, I make mine unsweetened) 2 tablespoons ground, roasted dandelion roots 6 ice cubes Add the almond milk, cashews, honey or stevia, and dandelion root to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the ice cubes and blend again. Serve immediately. How to Roast Dandelion Roots Dandelion is best picked away from high-traffic areas or areas that have been sprayed with pesticides. Ideally, pick dandelion root after a rainfall since the roots seem to come out easier. Clean the roots and cut off the tops (you can save the young greens as an addition to salads or sautéed in a little olive oil and minced garlic and tossed with some fresh lemon juice and sea salt). Place on a baking sheet in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven and roast for 1-1/2 to 3 hours, depending on the root size and desired level of roast. Dandelion is similar to coffee with light and dark roast options. Remove from the oven and let cool. Grind to a fine powder in a coffee or spice grinder. You can also use a high powered blender with a dry ingredients canister. Store the powder in an airtight jar and use as desired. Alternatively, if it is too much work or you don’t have access to good quality dandelions, you can also purchase pre-roasted and ground dandelion roots in packages at many health food stores and online. Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is a board-certified doctor of natural medicine and international best-selling and 19-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking (New World Library, 2016).

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