A well laid table and a colorful bouquet in the center, we are used to see in this way flowers for lunch or dinner. However, there is also another fascinating way in which flowers can make their appearance at the table, namely ... on the plate. In fact, some flowers are edible, they can be added raw to salads, appetizers or drinks, to give color, taste but also healthy properties, useful to counteract the damage of free radicals, tumors, obesity but also to protect the brain (Lu et al, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2016). However, not all flowers can be eaten, some can be toxic, therefore it is necessary to know exactly which plant we are dealing with. Not only that, you have also to be sure of the biological origin of the plant so that no pesticides have been used, in addition, you should always pay attention, especially the first time and if you already suffer from allergies, as the flowers may contain substances that cause irritation or disorders. Let's now see some edible and healthy flowers.
Nasturtium, Tropaeolum Majus, with its intense yellow, red or orange flowers, gives color and taste to your dishes. But the flowers of nasturtium are also antioxidant thanks to flavonoids, in particular anthocyanins, but also kempferol, quercetin and myricetin, contained in it (Garzon et al, Food Chem, 2009). In particular, red flowers have the greatest amount of flavonoids and the greatest antioxidant action (Garzon et al, J Agric Food Chem, 2015). Nasturtium flowers also show antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties. Finally, recent scientific research has also observed that nasturtium flowers counteract obesity by inhibiting the accumulation of fats (Kim et al, Food Nutr Res, 2017).
A symbol of beauty since ever, the rose surrounds gardens, embellishes tables and illuminates walls and fences. With rose petals you can prepare jams or ice cream but this fascinating flower can also be added raw to your dishes. In general, the rose shows, more than other flowers, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. In particular, the rosa odorata, for example, provides valuable antioxidants such as gallic acid and rutin. Not only that, this rose is also a source of mineral salts such as phosphorus, useful for the formation of bones and for the metabolism of sugars, potassium, important for the health of the cardiovascular, muscular and nervous system, calcium, which is important for the well-being of bones and teeth, and magnesium, which guarantees the action of various enzymes (Rop et al, Molecules, 2012). Rosa Hybrida is analgesic and anti-inflammatory (Choi et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 2003) while Rosa damascena has shown antiviral properties (Mahmood et al, Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 1996).