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What could eating flowers do for your health?

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Many cooks enjoy adding edible flowers to their salads and other dishes that make meals visually appealing. A new study shows flowers that have been consumed China for centuries and used in a variety of dishes and as seasonings have genuine health benefits that can prevent chronic disease.

Some edible flowers are anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and more

The study authors suggest more research into how eating flowers contribute to disease prevention. Adding flowers to foods could provide extra health benefits and prevent oxidation

Findings published in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) found many of the flowers used as garnishes or added to recipes have phenolic compounds associated with lower risk of certain types of cancer and heart disease. The compounds are also anti-inflammatory.

You can cook with a variety of flowers including impatiens, marigold, pansies, violets, nasturtium that has a peppery flavor, snap dragons and of course basil, chamomile and other herbs.

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Tree peony and Japanese honeysuckle potent antioxidants to add to your food

The scientists studied ten edible Chinese flowers for the presence of phenols using reversed phase high-performance liquid chromatography, applying an additional technique to measure their antioxidant capacity.

The tree peony and Japanese honeysuckle were found in the study to have the highest antioxidant capacity. Some of the flowers studied could be used to prevent food from discoloration that occurs from oxidation when they are exposed to air.

If you don't enjoy growing your own flowers, look around for wild edible plants that are probably growing in your backyard.

The new study suggests eating flowers could help prevent chronic diseases and may even prevent cancer. If you enjoy cooking you might consider adding some edible flowers to your diet as a garnish, for salads or even for baking. You can even make cookies with lemon and lavender. Share your thoughts. Do you eat flowers or have suggestions for cooking or baking?

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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons