Edible Flower Petals Are An Unexplored Nutrient Source

Friday, October 21st, 2016 | 605 Views

Flowers are an untapped source of bioactive nutrients, according to researchers from the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança in Portugal.

“Apart from the ‘glam’ factor, edible flowers have important nutritional characteristics and can constitute new sources of bioactive compounds,” they added.

Researchers selected edible petals and infusions of marigold flowers such as rose, dahlia, centaurea and calendula. These flowers are already being used in the nutrition industry as sources of carotenoids, but represent an unexplored niche market that could have economic and social importance.

Edible flowers were used in ancient times for culinary preparations like salads and desserts, and hot beverages like herbal teas and infusions.

For the study, an analysis was done on the macronutrient composition, energetic value, fatty acids, soluble sugars, organic acids and tocopherols of the petals. This was then compared to the nutritional composition of their infusions.

Researchers also found the highest concentration of total proteins, soluble sugars and organic acids in rose petals. Centaurea petals provided the highest carbohydrate content and the lowest percentage of saturated fatty acids.

Dahlia and rose infusions contained the highest carbohydrates, while rose had the highest energetic contribution. The centaurea infusion was found to have the highest amount of organic acids.

“These results demonstrate that edible petals can be consumed in a daily diet as a nutrient source, and could also be used to prepare infusions to be consumed worldwide,” the researchers concluded.