Trends in Food Science & Technology, 2020, 106, 30-47
Diet is a major determinant of aging and lifespan. Development and utilization of food resources with potential anti-aging activity have attracted increasing attention from researchers. Because of their peculiar flavour, aroma and colour, as well as enriched nutrients and phytochemicals, edible flowers have emerged as a new trend for human nutrition. More importantly, a growing body of evidence suggests flowers have potential effects against aging. However, these properties have yet to be systematically understood.
Scope and approach
In this review, we used comprehensive literature retrieval to summarize the major aspects of edible flowers’ anti-aging properties, including effects, active components, and applications. Relevant research articles published in English with no restrictions on publication date have been considered.
Key findings and conclusions
This review found evidence that edible flowers are promising raw materials for prevention or amelioration of skin aging, immunosenescence, neurodegeneration, and even extension of lifespan. Active ingredients in these flowers, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, carotenoids, phenylethanoid glycosides, polysaccharides, etc. may function through the inhibition of oxidative stress, inflammation, apoptosis and regulation of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1 (IIS) pathway. In addition to their use in traditional food and medicine, some flower extracts or main components have been developed for health care food or skin care products. These findings suggest that despite the partial restriction of harvest, storage and safety, edible flowers are worthy of further investigation to promote healthy aging.