Saffron is also called Kesar, which is undoubtedly a wonder spice all over the world. Almost every household in South Asia has a pack of saffron in their kitchen, either for their cooking or health purposes. From adding it into rice porridge for seasoning to sprinkling some of it on gourmet dishes, there is a lot that you can do with this spice. Known for its beautiful colour and bright essence, saffron has certainly been one of the topmost when it comes to spices. There are ample numbers of benefits that you can enjoy by having saffron. Since it is picked manually by the people, hence saffron is the costliest spice worldwide.
Talking about the origin of saffron, its dried threads come out from the stigma of the Crocus sativus plant. It has a distinct flavour, aroma, and essence, which can make your food not just delicious but also a source of healthy nutrients. The chemical compounds safranal and Picrocrocin help it to render a deep colour to your food. It functions as an antioxidant and a neuro-protective agent.
Amazing Benefits of Saffron
Saffron is integrated into the culinary practices of many civilizations, including Greek, Persian, and Indian, and is celebrated as a miraculous spice due to its many benefits. Let us have a look at some of the most-known advantages that you can enjoy by using saffron.
1. Boosts Skin Health
There seems to be an explanation why new soaps, ubtans, and moisturizers so boldly advertise saffron on their packaging. Rich in antioxidants, saffron is known to support clean skin and give it a natural glow. It also has a calming effect on the skin and is prescribed for acne breakouts.
2. Excellent Antioxidant Properties
Saffron includes a wide range of chemical compounds which act as antioxidants. These are the molecules that shield the cells from free radicals and oxidative stress. Crocin, safranal, crocetin, and kaempferol are among the antioxidants available in saffron. Crocetin and Crocin are carotenoid pigments that contribute to the red colour of saffron. All molecules can have antidepressant effects, shield brain cells from degenerative changes, suppress appetite, and assist in weight loss.
Moving on to safranal, then this one imparts a distinct flavour and fragrance to saffron. According to a study, it can boost your temperament, memory, and learning capacity, as well as defend your nervous system cells from oxidative stress. Ultimately, kaempferol can be identified in the petals of saffron flowers. This substance has been associated with a variety of health effects, including decreased inflammation, anticancer function, and antidepressant effect.
3. Prevents the Nervous System Disorders
Saffron antioxidants can have an important role in helping the body recover from the disorder by affecting the nervous system. Analyses from years have been stating that saffron compounds, such as Crocin, tend to mitigate inflammation and oxidative brain injury, contributing to beneficial results. The individuals suffering from moderate Alzheimer's disease had noticed better changes than those who take dopezil and had fewer side effects.
4. Reduces Cancer Risk
Saffron is very rich in antioxidants and flavonoids. Antioxidant properties tend to shield the body from toxic chemicals. Flavonoids are compounds present in plants that allow them to protect themselves from fungi and disease. The chemical structure of saffron can be useful in preventing and treating a variety of different cancers. However, studies pointed out that more such experiments involving humans are required.
5. Enhanced Libido
It can also enhance sexual urges and hormone levels in both women and men. Scientists analyzed the role of saffron on male infertility issues. This spice has been recognized for its libido-boosting qualities, but new research suggests that its aphrodisiac effects could be particularly beneficial to people who take antidepressants. Many drugs have common side effects such as erectile dysfunction, reduced libido, and female dryness.
In a study, men provided 30 mg of saffron per day for one month had the better erectile capacity and sexual pleasure than others taking a placebo. Saffron supplementation is also known to reduce pain-related sex, boost libido, and enhanced lubrication in women. They observed that while it had a beneficial impact on erectile dysfunction and general sex desire, it did not alter the quality of semen.
6. Helps to Lose Weight
There is a spiking increase in the number of obese people. They are constantly looking for the best way with which they can lose weight. Several experiments have found that saffron contributes to metabolism and may also reduce your appetite. Reducing your appetite is extremely effective when you're on a weight-loss diet schedule. Introducing saffron to your diets or taking supplements with saffron extract can help with weight loss.
The suggested reason for why it helps in losing weight is attributable to saffron's mood-boosting power, which could improve satiety, leading to decreased snacking and accelerated weight loss. If we study much more about structural, metabolic consequences of obesity and the connection between obesity and several chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and even Alzheimer's disease, this anti-obesity effect of saffron looks very positive.
7. Lowers PMS symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can trigger a cascade of painful symptoms, from mood disorders to physical pain. Some females are more influenced than others. Saffron could be a suitable option for those who want relaxation but do not want to focus on drugs. Besides, females who merely smelled saffron for 20 minutes reported the lower release of the stress hormone cortisol in their bloodstream, resulting in reduced PMS symptoms.
Saffron is also called the "sunshine spice." And this is not because of the red and occasionally yellow colourings. It is known that the spice has mood-boosting qualities. There may even be some research behind this statement. Experiments also showed that saffron had improved symptoms of major depressive disorders in people. It can make the spice a suitable option for patients who do not handle antidepressant medicine well.
9. Aids in memory recall and learning
Crocin, which is found in saffron, helps treat age-related mental disability. Crocetin and Crocin, which are found in saffron, can boost memory and cognitive abilities. Besides, saffron crystallization is used to treat short-term memory loss, Alzheimer's disease, inflammation Parkinson's disease.
10. Boosts Liver and Stomach Function
The chemical called Picrocrocin is found in the saffron. This is what renders the bitter taste to this spice and is also responsible for the weird taste. Picrocrocin enhances gastrointestinal, salivary, and gastric secretions, which promotes digestion and metabolism. On the other hand, crocetin induces bile formation in the liver. It also aids digestion and slows the progression of gallbladder stones. Saffron also prevents the liver from harm caused by aflatoxins, which we can consume.
11. Prevents Vision Loss
In an experiment, many patients suffering from vision loss were provided with saffron supplementation. It was later noticed that there were mild changes seen in the functioning of their retina. In an observational follow-up analysis of saffron supplements, Italian researchers investigated the long-term survival of central retinal activity after continuous Saffron supplementation. It has been proven scientifically that proper saffron supplementation improves vision and reverses macular degeneration in patients in the long term.
Some Interesting Facts about Saffron
Well, let us tell you that people have been using saffron since the earliest times. It was honoured as a sweet-smelling spice in numerous biblical stories and legends over 3 thousand years ago. It was used in Sumerian potions for mystical and medicinal purposes. Saffron was used to rendering sketches in 50,000-year-old cave paintings uncovered in Iraq. This rare spice was most certainly first grown near Greece, and it is now grown in several parts of the globe. Iran is the world's leading manufacturer of saffron. It is cultivated in the hilly regions of Jammu and Kashmir in India. A few of the interesting facts about using saffron are given below.
1. It is said that the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra used saffron in her cosmetics for enhancing her beauty.
2. According to some historians, Saffron arrived in China with Mongol invaders through Persia.
3. This precious spice is also high in elements such as copper, magnesium, potassium, manganese, selenium, calcium, zinc, and iron.
4. Saffron was used as a remedy and organic dye in ancient China and India, apart from being a food ingredient. It can also be used to treat illnesses such as allergies, coughing, and insomnia.
There are several plants and spices that are gaining attention for their health benefits, and Saffron is surely not one to miss out on. Saffron is a potent spice that is rich in various antioxidants. It has already been attributed to a host of health effects, including elevated mood and sexual activity. There are ample numbers of benefits that you can enjoy with this spice. Most of all, it's reasonably healthy for the majority of people and easy to incorporate into your diet. To reap the beneficial properties of saffron, try mixing it into your favourite recipes.