Hibiscus is not only eye candy but is also good for your health. It is pretty common for this plant to be consumed. If you are into tea, you must be familiar with it as it is often used as part of the brew. In some places, hibiscus is considered as a medicinal plant as it is full of health benefits.
If you are interested in using hibiscus as food or beverages, before executing everything, it is better for you to educate yourself about hibiscus nutrition.
There are several aspects that determine the nutrients in hibiscus. These aspects include the part of the plant being used, the variety, the growing conditions, and many more. The best part of the hibiscus that is rich in nutrients is the calyces. The nutrients found include calcium, phosphorus, iron, niacin, vitamin C, and riboflavin.
Some people are also curious about the nutrients per serving. Talking about the nutrition for foods made from hibiscus, keep in mind that it varies depending on the recipes. There are no calories in teas. This drink is known to have no nutritional value. On the other hand, there are calories as well as nutrition in the sweetened teas, syrups, and sauces as they consist of sugar and the other ingredients. Instead of turning the hibiscus into drinks or foods, the best thing to take advantage of it is by consuming it in its natural form, even though mostly people seems don’t really like it.
As reported by the USDA, a cup of hibiscus in its natural form consists of 28 calories, 5 gram protein, 0 grams fat, 6 grams carbohydrates, 0 gram fiber, and 0 gram sugar.
As mentioned above, the best part of the hibiscus is the calyx as it is rich in nutrients. Almost every part of the plant is eligible to be consumed, including the flowers, leaves, and seeds, but calyx is the one that is mostly used. If you have no idea about calyx, it is a combination of sepals. When the flower of hibiscus is still a bud, the whole thing is covered by a structure that looks like leaves known as sepals. Calyx, or calyces in floral, is the collectively sepals. The fresh calyx, which is also popular as roselle fruit, provides the best flavor and color. There are dried ones available in the market in case you cannot get them. Please do not be surprised if you see them marked as flowers as they are the same calyces.
If you want to try hibiscus and get advantages from it, you can try to make a jam, jelly, or marmalade and enjoy it with bread. When the flowers of hibiscus die, the calyces turn red, big, and juicy. When it comes to the structures, they are similar to rosehips. The only difference is that their shape is more pointy compared to rosehips.
The second type of food that you can make is a sauce by stewing with sugar. If you love tea, you can make it from hibiscus and enjoy it in hot or cold weather. Actually, hibiscus tea does not only consist of hibiscus, sugar, and water. If you want, you can also add some other ingredients such as lemon and ginger. If you are into sweets like ice cream and pancakes, you can make hibiscus syrup and pour it over your food. Hibiscus can also be used as a garnish. The calyces of hibiscus can be chopped and then added to the fruit salad.
According to some research, hibiscus has anti cancer and anti bacterial qualities. It also has been proven by numerous studies that it has the ability to improve heart health as it has anthocyanins in it. For your information, anthocyanins are the types of plan compounds that are like antioxidants. They are the ones that give some plants the colors of red, blue, and purple.
Read also: Benefits of hibiscus extract
For those with cholesterol, there is good news for you as it is said that hibiscus is good at improving cholesterol levels. There is a study that said both men and women who consumed the hibiscus extract had successfully lowered their cholesterol levels within just two and four weeks. There is also another study that showed the success story of the diabetes patients who usually have a hard time with high cholesterol.
If you have some issues with the blood pressure, hibiscus can also be consumed to lower the blood pressure. A study with people with mild hypertension shows that it is effective for this kind of disease. Since the subjects were not taking any blood pressure medicine, it is clear that it has something to do with hibiscus. Their systolic and diastolic reading were lower after consuming hibiscus tea about three times a day.
While it is true that hibiscus has lots of benefits for health, it does not mean that not every species is suitable for food. The one that you plant might not be the one that can be eaten. If you want to make something from hibiscus, do not use big amounts and just use the small ones to prevent something bad from happening.
Hibiscus is known to have a sour taste. People call the hibiscus tea sour tea. You might use a lot of sugar when cooking with it due to the fact it has a strong flavor and it could cause weight gain or issues with blood sugar.
That’s the fact about nutrition in hibiscus. For the detailed one, you are encouraged to visit a doctor, a nutritionist, or the other professionals. It is better for you to consult the professionals before consuming this plant to prevent something unexpected from happening. It is good for some people but it does not mean it is good for you as everyone has a different condition. That’s why it is always best to discuss it with the professionals first so you can enjoy it without having to worry about anything.