February 12, 2019 at 10:57AM by CWC
When I finally got my hands on a copy of wellness maven Hannah Bronfman’s new book Do What Feels Good, one of the first things I noticed is that there are four whole pages dedicated to dandelion root. The DJ apparently mixes it with MCT oil in her morning coffee, guzzles it in tea form, and even supercharges it with a twist of lemon and ginger.
So what gives? Why does the wildflower—which let’s be real here, normally only has value as an unreliable wish-granter—earn a spot in Bronfman’s morning routine?
“It’s just one of these roots that gives you energy, has great fiber, and is overall just a great alternative for someone who wants to have some energy and some good flavor, but doesn’t necessarily drink coffee or who is looking to wean themselves off coffee,” says the HBFit founder.
Sonya Angelone, RDN, agrees that dandelion root is pretty legit thanks to its digestive benefits (ahem, helps you poop). “Dandelion roots are rich in inulin, a carbohydrate which also acts as a prebiotic, a soluble fiber that feeds healthy gut bacteria. Because of the high fiber content, it can help relieve constipation—with adequate water, of course—by increasing the bulk of your stool and making it easier to pass.”
And the fiber isn’t the only dandelion root benefit. The ingredient has been a staple of Eastern medicine for years, with proponents claiming it can help release toxins from the liver and reduce inflammation. The root contains enzymes that promote digestion and reduce bloat. Its inulin might also help regulate blood sugar levels for those with insulin resistance or pre-diabetes. Also promising: A 2017 in vitro study (a.k.a. performed on cells in a petri dish) found that dandelion root extract helped slow the growth of certain kinds of cancer cells.
“It’s just one of these roots that gives you energy, has great fiber, and is overall just a great alternative for someone who wants to have some energy and some good flavor, but doesn’t necessarily drink coffee.” —Hannah Bronfman
You can find dandelion root in whole and powdered form, as capsules, or in teas. Bronfman specifically likes the product Dandy Blend for her morning coffee.”It’s a mix between hickory root and dandelion and it tastes delicious,” she says.
One big FYI before you try: As with any herb, certain medications may not interact well with high doses of dandelion roots (including antacids and some diabetes drugs). You should definitely get the go-ahead from your MD before ordering your own bag and leveling up your daily cup of joe, especially if you’re taking other herbs or prescription medications.
Should you decide to make like Bronfman and stir the ingredient into all your a.m. brews (and you have your doc’s OK), make sure not to overdo it. “I would begin with no more than a cup of tea a day, and take it from there. If you are looking to add more to your diet, I would recommend adding on slowly,” recommends Annessa Chumbley, RD, nutrition consultant to Premier Protein. Two to 8 grams per day is a good place to start, adds Angelone. (After all, you don’t end up with loose stools).
You can also buy this super-ingredient in a tea bag form. Or, you could go all ’70s and pick your own. “You can store [the dandelion] in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator with a paper towel wrapped around them to absorb the excess moisture,” says Chumbley.
Color me impressed by all of these dandelion root benefits. Seems like it’s a, ahem, ~dandy~ addition to your wellness routine. Just ask Bronfman.