The magazine recently published a review food Health benefits and other useful characteristics of different flowering plants are described.
study: Exploring plants with flowers: from therapeutic nutritional benefits to innovative sustainable uses. Image source: Shan 16899 / Shutterstock.com
The use of edible flowers has increased significantly in recent years, mainly due to their nutritional and medicinal properties. Flowers are a rich source of many bioactive compounds, including carotenoids, phenolic compounds, vitamins C and E, saponins, and phytosterols.
As an alternative food source, flowers make a significant contribution to food security and environmental sustainability. However, some flowers may also contain toxic substances and are therefore not suitable for consumption.
Many postharvest treatments, including refrigeration, crystallization, lyophilization or freeze-drying, sugar canning, and distillate preservation, have been developed to extend the shelf life and quality of flowers. Despite these advances, edible flowers are primarily sold in fresh and chilled form without any other post-harvest processing.
Nutrients and bioactive compounds in edible flowers
Edible flowers are becoming increasingly popular for their nutritional and health benefits. There is evidence that consuming some edible flowers can provide daily recommended amounts of certain minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. However, cooking some flowers may reduce their mineral content.
Different parts of the flower contain different nutrients. For example, pollen contains large amounts of proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids.
Nectar contains balanced amounts of sugars, amino acids, proteins, inorganic ions, lipids, organic acids and alkaloids. Petals and other parts of the flower are potential sources of vitamins, minerals and bioactive compounds.
Phenolic compounds and carotenoids are the main bioactive compounds found in flowers. Recent evidence suggests that approximately 60% and 54% of known edible flowers contain carotenoids and phenolic compounds, respectively. However, it has been observed that flowers containing high amounts of carotenoids generally do not contain high amounts of phenolic compounds and vice versa.
Flavonols, such as quercetin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin, myricetin and their derivatives, are the main class of flavonoids found in flowers. Flavonoids such as luteolin, apigenin, acacetin, and chrysanol are the second largest flavonoids. Among the phenolic acids, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, caffeoylquinic acid, protocatechuic acid, and gallic acid are present in edible flowers.
Hydroxylutein and xanthophylls containing hydroxyl and epoxy groups are the most common types of carotenoids found in edible flowers. The flowers also contain the provitamin A carotene and the colorless carotene phytoene.exist kidney disease mountains (Rottb.) Maas is a medicinal plant commonly found in the Mexican rainforest and is reported to contain extremely high levels of provitamin A carotene.
Health Benefits of Edible Flowers
Bioactive compounds present in edible flowers have been associated with numerous health benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-obesity, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, gastroprotective, antidiarrheal, antibacterial, antispasmodic, analgesic, and astringent properties.
Approximately 97% of known edible flowers have therapeutic properties. Specifically, approximately 32%, 26%, and 14% of the flowers have been identified to possess immunomodulatory, antimicrobial, and gastroprotective properties, respectively.
Earlier in vitro Studies have found that begonias, roses, nasturtiums, daylilies, marigolds, Japanese roses, Daur roses, daylilies and chrysanthemums have high antioxidant activity. Additionally, many edible flowers, including hibiscus, roses, chrysanthemums, marigolds, cosmos, coral vine, bougainvillea, jasmine, honeysuckle, cinnamon, chives, marigolds, and pomegranate flowers, are effective against many types of cancer, including Affects cancer) has anti-cancer effects. Liver, colon, brain, skin, bladder, prostate and breasts.
chrysanthemum. Image credit: Old Man Stocker/Shutterstock
Roselle, white chrysanthemum, wild chrysanthemum, honeysuckle and daylily all have anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, roselle, magnolia and water lilies also have anti-obesity properties.
High levels of lutein and zeaxanthin (two carotenoids) were detected in marigold petals. These carotenoids are known to have protective effects against eye pathologies such as age-related eye degeneration.
Other benefits of flowers
Food production accounts for approximately 40% of land use and 70% of freshwater use, which is a significant obstacle to achieving sustainable ecosystems. Soil and water contamination from human activities is another major issue in food production and security.
Phytoremediation is the process of using plants to remove pollutants from the environment. Plant roots can absorb and fix heavy metals in the soil, then convert them into volatile forms and release them into the atmosphere through stomata, a process also known as plant volatilization.
Plants can also degrade soil contaminants through phytodegradation or rhizosphere degradation using enzymes, or using rhizosphere microorganisms, respectively. Phytoextraction is another important method commonly used in commercial applications.
In the textile industry, floral-derived dyes are becoming increasingly popular due to the potential environmental and health hazards of synthetic dyes. Recent evidence suggests that flowers such as jasmine and the purple petals of saffron can be used to produce bioethanol and environmentally friendly additives for bentonite-based drilling fluids, respectively.
Porous carbon nanosheets can be produced by carbonizing paper flowers. These materials can also be used for energy storage and dye removal.
- Coyago-Cruz, E., Moya, M., Mendez, G., et al. (2023). Exploring plants with flowers: from therapeutic nutritional benefits to innovative sustainable uses. food. doi:10.3390/foods12224066