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Health

‘Zochia’ – Wild Greens for a Healthy Diet

Common sowthistles – ‘zochia’ – are fantastic greens for this season in Greece! Whenever I see them in the countryside, I remember my grandmother, Evropi, gathering them, boiling them for salad, and sometimes putting them in a pie!

Sonchus oleraceus (Common sowthistle) belongs to the family that includes botanicals such as sunflowers, dandelions, and similar plants. It can be consumed raw, but boiling somewhat reduces its bitterness, which otherwise is wonderful for your body!

It is rich in antioxidants and dietary fibers, minerals, and trace elements. However, the ‘hidden ace’ of sowthistles is the phenolics and flavonoids. These are the components that have been known since antiquity, especially through the botanist Theophrastus, for their properties. Traditionally, bitter greens strengthen the liver, the urinary tract, and act as a digestive aid and antispasmodic.

Nutritionally, sowthistles or ‘zochia’ (the local name depends on the region of Greece) are rich in calcium, vitamin C, phosphorus, iron, vitamin A, niacin, and riboflavin. They are an ideal food with a little lemon and olive oil to make a complete meal.

 * The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.

 Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics, MSc in Botany-Biology and MSc in Horticulture & Viticulture.

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