by Robert Bragagnolo
I HAVE never met anyone who has taken up gardening solely as a source of good physical exercise. If you are looking to drop a few kilos, increase your cardio, get great abs, and tone your triceps, you would probably join a gym. Gardening can, however, be an excellent, natural way to increase your general health.

Luckily, gardening hasn't been completely revolutionized by technology and so we can't build, nor plant our flowerbeds by the push of a remote control, it still takes old fashioned elbow grease.

Although most of us don't approach our gardening at Olympic speeds you would be surprised at how much energy you burn during an afternoon of weeding, planting and sowing. Gardening not only gets you spending calories but it also gets you outside breathing fresh air. Aside from the benefits of physical exercise you can also increase your general health by consuming some of the magnificent plants and flowers you grow in your garden.

I RECENTLY read an article published by the BBC reporting that hibiscus flowers seem to have the same cholesterol lowering properties as red wine and tea. The researchers found it contains antioxidants that are known to reduce the dangerous build up of fats inside the arteries. The article stated that “data strongly suggest that it could be useful in the prevention and even treatment of a number of cardiovascular diseases in which cholesterol plays a major role.” Dr Charmaine Griffiths, spokesperson at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Previous research has suggested that a variety of naturally occurring flavonoids found in fruit, red wine and tea - have potent antioxidant properties that reduce oxidation of the harmful type of cholesterol, LDL.

How to
Hibiscus into
Your Diet
ALTHOUGH many of you may be familiar with hibiscus plants in the garden it may be something completely unfamiliar in your kitchen. When dried out the gorgeous red flowers of hibiscus plant make a delicious herbal infusion for teas, drinks, and desserts. Dried hibiscus flowers can be steeped much like an herbal tea. The resulting deep red hibiscus juice has a lovely tangy flavour.

Hibiscus Salt
ANOTHER fantastic way of incorporating hibiscus into your diet is by sprinkling hibiscus salt on your food. Hibiscus salt is a superb, 100% natural product created by Marc Fosh, combining organic Flor de Sal of Es Trenc, the finest salt in the world, with lovely hibiscus flowers. Use Hibiscus salt as you would normal salt on your salads and especially with meats to not only savour its incredibly flavour but to also reap its antioxidant rewards.

For more information on where to purchase Hibiscus Salt and for free recipes send an email to


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