What is saffron and what are its health benefits?

Posted April 26, 2019 in Food No Comments »
saffron health benefits

A reddish-orange small, bulbous spice, a member of a lily the family is known for its flavor, texture, and brilliant medicinal properties, Saffron is one of the most valuable and expensive spices known to this world. Saffron is unique in its texture and flavor, and that’s why one of the most costly spices. This spice was first cultivated near Greece and then gradually spread through countries like Eurasia to North America and then North Africa.  

However, over the years, the demand of this spice as lead to a gush in its cultivation across the famous countries like Greece, Iran, Spain, Morocco, Italy and India. Right now, Iran is one of the biggest producers of Saffron both, in terms of high quality and quantity.

Saffron is derived from the flower of Crocus sativus and scientifically is known as saffron crocus. The vibrant reddish stigmas of the plants collected and dried known as threads. These dried strands are then further used as a food seasoning.

Do you know?

Saffron is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties and helps maintain healthy arteries and blood vessels, and that is why it’s used as an anti-inflammatory diet component.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of saffron extract are due to the presence of various active constituents such as safranal, crocetin, crocin, and flavonoids, etc., which have anti-inflammatory and radical scavenging properties. The anti-inflammatory property of this super-spice may be contributed to the synergistic action of crocetin, crocin, and safranal. However, in a study, it is concluded that saffron extract is capable of slowing RA progression.

Saffron Supplement

Super-spice saffron has emerged recently as a most promising and beneficial health supplement that offers a wide range of benefits. If you want to win a fight against depression, sexual dysfunction, or want to improve your antioxidant status, the saffron supplement might be the right choice for you. Saffron has been linked to various health benefits such as it helps in improving mood, sexual function, libido and also known to reduce PMS symptoms and enhanced weight loss. 

 Health Benefits of Saffron

Let’s take a closer look at this super-spice to uncover the most promising health benefits of it.

  • Depression:

Saffron is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties to cope with depression. According to the study in 2016 based on a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 60 adults suffered from anxiety and depression received 50 milligrams of saffron and placebo twice daily for almost 12 months and the results were shocking. Saffron appeared to have excellent treatment effect as compared to placebo. Saffron’s antidepressant effects are due to due anti-inflammatory, serotonergic, neuroendocrine and neuroprotective effects.

  • Boosts Immunity:

People often think that spice is meant for flavouring only, but they don’t know that they still contain high concentrations of certain most essential nutrients, like Vitamin C. Ascorbic acid, is best for human health. According to the study published in China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica, ascorbic acid helps stimulate the production of white blood cells, which are the body’s first line of defense against various diseases. Ascorbic acid is also needed for collagen production which contributes to wound healing, blood vessel repair, and tissue production.

  • Reduce Blood Pressure:

Saffron is a good source of potassium which helps improving blood pressure. It also helps to remove blockage in arteries.  Crocetin is a main ingredient which works as a most potent blood pressure-lowering agent. So if you suffer from high blood pressure and want to prevent heart attacks and strokes, then saffron is a spice you need.  

  • Relieve Anxiety:

Are your suffering from anxiety? Saffron has been used as a reliever for mild depression. It helps in relieving anxiety when consuming regularly. The presence of active compounds in saffron affect the endocrine system and helps to stimulate the release of beneficial hormones which play a role in keeping us healthy and happy.

  • Weight Loss and Appetite Management:

Do you know saffron supplements can be helpful in weight loss and appetite management? Yes, saffron supplements are used as a weight-loss aid and are supposed to curb appetite and reduce frequent craving. It also helps to increase brain levels of serotonin which further helps in preventing compulsive overeating leads to weight gain.

  • Improve Nerve Function:

Vitamin B is the essential nutrient that over body needs for proper nerve functioning and at the same time most overlooked in human health. The good news is Vitamin B6 found abundantly in saffron spice which helps in improving the nervous system and keeps it running smoothly. Poor nervous system function lead to dangerous disorders.

Saffron is also known for treating age-related macular degeneration, and is added as an ingredient in some vision supplements. According to a study in 2016, with the long-term consumption of supplements with saffron added as dietary component helps improving visual function. With the regular consumption of 30mg saffron supplement for 6 months, patients with dry and wet AMD can experience significant changes in retinal function.

  • Erectile dysfunction:

Most of us unknown of the effectiveness of saffron for erectile dysfunction. According to studies, saffron is useful on five dimensions of erectile dysfunction. It helps people with erectile function, orgasmic function, sexual desire, and intercourse satisfaction.

Saffron has aphrodisiac properties for both men and women and helps those taking antidepressants.

  • Improves bone health:

Saffron is rich with mineral and organic compounds which are directly linked to optimize nutrient uptake, particularly of calcium. Yes, by improving the amount of calcium in the body, we can improve bone mineral density and can prevent chronic diseases like arthritis, osteoporosis, and many other degenerative age-related diseases.

  • Cancer Prevention:

Saffron is a good source for preventing cancer. It contains bio-chemical compounds like zea-xanthin, lycopene, ?- and ?- carotene. All these compounds work like immune modulator and thus helps in preventing cancer symptoms.

Why taking a saffron supplement is helpful and easy?

The saffron supplement is helpful because of its powerful antioxidant properties. It helps improving mood and offers various health benefits. You can combine your diet with saffron supplement, together with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.  No doubt, you can use saffron in your cooking, but you are not going to get the research-backed effective dose just by eating yellow rice bowl. If you want to boost your mood and brain, then look for saffron in a liquid extract or capsules. 

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