A dark brown chocolate cake looks so pretty with colourful edible flowers. Even a cheesecake with a little pink edible flower looks more appetising. The same goes for a cup of tea and a bowl of salad. In some cultures, fresh flowers are also eaten as snacks, especially by children. They are said to be loved by kids due to their sweet taste, thanks to the nectar. Nowadays, more people, especially chefs, are seen using edible flowers in cooking delicacies. They are loved not only for their aesthetic properties, but also because of health benefits of edible flowers. Now, a study has proven that they help to fight diseases and promote gold health.
According to MDPI, the new study included data of over 250 types of plants, and it looked at multiple edible flowers used in some countries around the Mediterranean Sea, their inclusion in various traditional forms of food and medicine and their health impact.
It was found that edible flowers are identified as functional foods for their nutraceutical properties as well as for their content of antioxidant compounds. They can play an important role in promoting health and also preventing different types of diseases.
Health Shots reached out to Mohini Dongre, senior dietitian at Narayana Hospital, Gurugram to find out which edible flowers have health benefits.
Edible flowers help to fight diseases
Elderflowers have been found to be effective in fighting against degenerative diseases like cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, and also cancer and diabetes, as per MDPI. Other interesting edible flowers include the false acacia (black locust), and it’s been found that its flowers are rich in polyphenols with antioxidant and tumor-fighting properties. They have been used to treat flu, induce calmness, or even enhance general health. Dongre shared that plants like daucus carota, picrorhiza kurroa, bombax ceiba and Andrographis paniculata help in cardiovascular diseases.
Commonly found flowers in India that have health benefits
We have seen pink, yellow and lavender-coloured flowers on dishes. It’s time to know their names and their health benefits. According to the expert, marigold helps to heal bruises, rose reduces the risk of heart diseases, lavender is known for being good for hair growth and lily helps to prevent a chronic headache.
How to eat edible flowers?
You might be wondering whether you should just wash them and eat like fruits or should they be consumed with other food items. The expert suggested that edible flowers can be used in sugar syrups and rose petals can also be used in sweets.
Avoid eating raw edible flowers
As a kid, you might have eaten rose petals. But it is not the best idea to eat raw edible flowers as you might end up with infections after taking them. Dongre said they might cause adverse reactions, such as mouth and skin irritation and ulcers, fungal infections, vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures.
Next time, you decide to leave out the edible flowers from your food, think of all the health benefits and why you shouldn’t treat it just a flavour enhancer or an ingredient to beautify your dish.