Heart health is also preserved with diet by including fruit and vegetables with an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action. Among the plants that we can eat, useful for enriching salads, we certainly find the dandelion that, in addition to carrying out a hepatoprotective and diuretic function, also protects the heart through multiple mechanisms. This emerges from a very recent review published in Nutrients magazine thanks to the work of a Polish team (Olas et al, Nutrients, 2022).
The properties of dandelion
A healthy lifestyle that includes moderate physical activity and a varied and balanced diet with a regular intake of fruit and vegetables are the key to preventing cardiovascular disease. In this period the gardens are covered with dandelion, or Taraxacum officinalis, a plant with serrated green leaves and beautiful yellow flowers. Dandelions not only make lawns cheerful and colorful but can also be harvested and eaten. Everything of the dandelion is consumed, the roots, used to replace tea and coffee, the flowers and leaves to enrich salads. This plant is characterized by diuretic, antioxidant, hepatoprotective and antibacterial properties, it provides vitamins, such as A, C, E, K, mineral salts, such as potassium, calcium, manganese, zinc and magnesium, phenolic acids, especially choric and chlorogenic acids, flavonoids and terpenes. Given these characteristics, the researchers hypothesized a beneficial action at the level of the cardiovascular system. Since, until now, the studies on the cardioprotective properties of dandelions were separate and poorly organized, the scientists developed the review we are talking about today by comparing the studies performed so far and commenting on them. Let's try to understand what emerged.
How dandelion protects the heart
The review clearly shows that dandelion has cardioprotective properties and can be included in a healthy diet in order to prevent cardiovascular disease. The dandelion, in fact, thanks to its active ingredients, acts with different mechanisms. Studies performed in vivo have shown that dandelion is an antioxidant and is able to protect the aorta, improving its elasticity. Not only that, dandelion flowers and leaves, taken every day, have been shown to reduce total cholesterol and triglycerides thanks to the phenolic compounds they contain. Thanks to its antioxidant action, dandelion also contributes to reducing the risk of hypertension, in which, as scientific studies show, oxidative stress plays a key role. Dandelion leaves also have an anti-obesity action and in addition perform an anti-platelet function, reducing the risk of thrombus.
Conclusions and warnings
So, green light for dandelions in salads. As for warnings and side effects, dandelion is generally considered to be safe. However, the quantity of leaves and flowers should not exceed 4-12 grams per day while the limit dose of the roots is set at 1-3 grams per day. Ask your doctor for advice if you are taking any medications as dandelions can interact with certain medications, such as antiplatelet drugs, pain relievers, diuretics, and hypoglycemic agents.