5 Flowers With Eye-Opening Health Benefits
Fruits and vegetables get tons of love for healthy living, but they’re not the only healthy ingredients in your garden-to-table cookbook. Edible flowers can brighten up your pantry and deliver unbelievable health benefits. Here are three you may not have thought about before.
1. Dandelion: Bright & Nutritious Superstar
Dandelions are way more than garden pests. You can eat dandelion flowers, leaves, stems and even the roots. Every part adds a health boost to meals:
Nutrients: Dandelions have tons of vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin K, plus potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium.
Prebiotics: The soluble fiber in dandelion roots helps to keep your gut happy, whether you eat it fresh or drink it in tea.
Antioxidants: These bright yellow flowers have several types of antioxidants, including beta carotene and polyphenols. They help to protect your cells against damage from environmental contamination.
Dandelions work well as fresh greens for any recipe, including hearty stews and casseroles. Add the leaves and flowers to salads for a pop of color. Make incredible bistro sandwiches or jellies.
2. Nasturtium: Spicy Immune System Booster
These vibrant orange, red or yellow flowers give dishes a peppery punch. The elegant look of nasturtium blossoms can make a big impression when inviting friends over for a meal. Of course, it’s the health effects that are most exceptional:
Eye health: Many scientists think that nasturtium has the most lutein of any plant or food. Lutein is an antioxidant that supports eye health and helps prevent vision problems, including cataracts and macular degeneration.
Immune health: Nasturtium leaf tea has antibiotic essential oils such as limonene. It can strengthen your immune system, calming respiratory problems and reducing coughing and congestion.
Inflammation relief: Nasturtium’s essential oils also reduce inflammation and pain. That may be why they’re so good for helping you breathe comfortably when you have a cold.
In some countries, nasturtium and other flowers are used as herbal antibiotics for bronchitis, sinus infections and urinary infections. Of course, you should always consult with your doctor if you have an infection.
3. Rose: Petals of Romance and Relaxation
Rose petals can give you some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Part of the soothing effects comes from the unmistakable aroma. At the same time, roses have lots of polyphenol antioxidants. They can do wonders for your body:
Digestive help: Rose tea can improve digestion and prevent constipation. It can also reduce bloating and menstrual cramps.
Pain relief: Rose petals and powdered roses can be just as effective as over-the-counter pain meds for alleviating inflammation and pain.
Stress relief: The antioxidants in roses promote feelings of well-being. If you’ve had a lot of stress lately, relaxing with a cup of rose tea, especially with someone you love, is just what the doctor ordered.
Roses have a distinctly floral taste, which means a little goes a long way. Rose hips are a favorite of tea lovers.
Healthy Flowers for Aromatherapy
Many edible flowers also have essential oils that can work in aromatherapy. For example, lavender can help with anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia and nausea. Blend lavender essential oil with a carrier oil (such as sweet almond oil) and enjoy the relaxing aroma with a gentle skin massage.
Jasmine is another aromatherapy mainstay. The luxurious fragrance can alleviate headaches, depression and PMS symptoms quickly.