Flowers are a colorful treat to the eye and one of nature’s best revelations. This bloom/blossom is the reproductive structure of the flowering plant enabling the joining of the sperm with eggs and also attracts animals that help in the transfer of pollen. They are quite an asset to the plant and beyond that, a greater asset to mankind as well. None can stay blind to the beauty of these colorful blooms that are sometimes made into a bouquet, used for decorations and also considered as objects of romance, religion, medicine and even as a food ingredient. Yes! edible flowers are becoming popular and this is growing to be a booming industry.
A bouquet is a sign of love and can be an ideal choice for any occasion right from birthdays and weddings to hospital visits and send offs. Its not unlikely to see a colorful bouquet of flowers sitting quietly in one corner of a patient’s room in the hospital. Beyond adding an aura of cheer and beauty to the room its also been researched that flowers improve wellbeing and the patients tend to require less pain medications after surgery, felt less tired, stressed and anxious and had a positive mental state than those in a room without flowers. Maybe, next time when we feel low and dull its not wrong to gift ourselves a bouquet of these unmatched beauties or place a bunch of roses in a glass vase anywhere-in our homes, at office or even in our kitchen. Even better, if we have a small vase in every room of our sweet homes with colorful flowers to brighten our mood and lighten our mental pressures. Doesn’t it seem fair now that most of the restaurants have a small vase with flowers in each of their tables (just to lit up the mood of their customers), hospitals and hotels have a big bouquet of flower at the reception desk that’s changed every morning and most offices too prefer to welcome clients with colorful flowers sitting at the admin desk?
Apart from being a treat to the eye flowers are also great aromatic materials that are preferably used in preparing perfumes, air fresheners and potpourris to clear the air and enrich our surrounding. Some of the indoor plants help in purifying air helping us breathe fresh oxygen. Getting to smell a bunch of lavenders or roses before a major presentation or an exam clears your brain and also relieves your anxiety.
Don’t worry! There is nothing wrong in eating a rose petal, drinking hibiscus tea or adding lavenders to salads. We have grown up eating rainbow-colored fruits and vegetables to add nutrients and health to our body and we are now presented with an opportunity to treat our taste buds with colorful edible flowers that add color, sparkle and health to our well-being. Not long ago, my mom used to dry rose petals, eat one or two of them while doing it, use them as tea essence and even add them to milk before serving us. She was questioned, branded and her methods doubted as there were none in the family who seconded her deeds. But now, the same has become appreciable and encouraged. We pay 200 bucks for a small glass of green chamomile tea, saffron milk or rose-infused milkshake. That’s primarily because research and studies have come up with an exhaustive list of benefits of flowers including their antioxidant and vitamin benefits.
Social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest have influenced people’s approach to many foods (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/30/blooming-tasty-edible-flowers-are-summers-hottest-food-trend) and now, more and more individuals are concerned about the look and feel of their foods too! Fresh edible flowers are in great demand these days by foodies and health lovers as they add more flavor, power and color to foods. There are thousands of photos of foods posted on Instagram, programs such as MasterChef revolutionizing culinary tastes and experimental individuals figuring out ways to reinvent dishes making them more healthful and tastier. But not all flowers are edible, some are quite poisonous while some others can jeopardize your health. Its essential to learn to pick the right ones for your dinner plate. While supermarkets can help in this regard by stocking fresh packets of edible flowers for purchase its also good to get a first-hand experience on your own. Let’s take a look at each of the edible flowers that offer us with a bouquet of benefits:
Hibiscus: A beauty that grows in many of our homes hibiscus contains antioxidants that’s proclaimed to help reduce bad cholesterol levels in the body, enhance good cholesterol levels and improve hair and skin health as well. Many drink hibiscus teas as a health enhancer while it is also possible to eat the flower straight off the plant. Sounds crazy but true!
Lavender: The color and fragrance of lavender makes it an excellent choice for salads and teas. This purple-colored flower goes well with berries, thyme, sage and chocolate and can be eaten fresh or dried. Its said to be a good source of vitamin A and also helps in easing stress.
Rose: This flower which is a sign of love and intimacy also holds a prime place in culinary. Aren’t we in love with gulab ice creams, rose milk and gulkand? Proclaimed for being a great source of vitamin A, C and E roses are also good sources of antioxidants that save the body from free radicals. Chinese medicine even used rose to treat menstrual disorders and digestive problems. But all said and done, adding fresh petals of rose to our salads does brighten our meal.
Marigold: The sunshine flower has aplenty flavonoids that has the potential to prevent cancer. Caution is required while picking marigolds as some varieties are poisonous.
Chamomile: Yes! Here comes our favorite chamomile that’s been universally used these days to prepare flavored chamomile tea. Even children love them! Like lavender, chamomile works well on your digestive system and helps in getting a good night’s sleep.
Apart from these, jasmine is prominently used in India being added to rice preparations, teas and even jams. Banana flowers are a great source of health prepared as curries; papaya flowers are used in salads; dandelions, lotus stems, pansies, daisies, mint flower, sunflower, pumpkin blossom and rhododendron are used in Indian cooking. We are even proud of using Neem flowers for preparing dishes during festivals despite their bitter taste-the use of neem flower is an indication that life is a mix of sweetness and bitterness which must be accepted by each of us and it is also has digestive property.
So, add a dash of these colorful blossoms to any of your dishes depending on your choice of foods and taste. But before that, ensure to speak with your physician as some plants interact with certain medications and you don’t want to land up in trouble. People with asthma (the pollen could ruin your day), pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with allergy-realted problems are recommended to stay away from edible flowers.
The Mental Health Benefits of Flowers: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/health-benefits-flowers_b_2992014
So Sweet, the Surprising Health Benefits of Flowers: https://share.upmc.com/2015/02/health-benefits-flowers/
How to Create your own Edible Flower Garden & Food to Eat: https://www.heraldscotland.com/life_style/16144605.how-to-create-your-own-edible-flower-garden-and-food-to-eat/
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Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz of First Eat Right clinic, is the Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Bangalore. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Pune. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Hyderabad. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Chennai. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Mumbai. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Delhi. Best Dietitian Nutritionist in Kolkata.