Saturday, July 08, 2017 by Frances Bloomfield
Saffron is a spice derived from the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) flower. Obtaining this popular ingredient involves separating the stigma from the flower by hand, laying the stigmas onto a sieve, then curing them over heat. This labor-intensive process is what makes saffron the most expensive spice in the world. In spite of its extravagant price, saffron is highly sought after for its ability to color and season food, as well as its multiple health benefits from its plethora of potent nutrients.
Saffron contains a-crocin, a crotenoid compound responsible for giving the spice its signature golden color. Similar to other carotenoids like zeaxanthin and lycopene (which saffron also has), a-crocin acts as an antioxidant and protects the body from numerous infections and diseases.
As a spice, saffron is loaded with therapeutic essential volatile oils such as:
Moreover, saffron has the following vitamins and minerals:
Saffron has been known to treat or alleviate:
Saffron has adequate amounts of potassium, a mineral that serves as a vasodilator and lowers the amount of stress endured by the heart. By alleviating pressure from the heart, saffron can prevent such heart disorders as atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack.
One of the most well-known uses of saffron is as a treatment for excessive flatulence. This spice has sedative and anti-inflammatory effects that can calm the stomach and quell gas. By doing so, saffron offers the added benefit of reducing the chances of experiencing constipation, bloating, and gastric ulcers.
Saffron has an aphrodisiac effect on both men and women. For men, saffron can be used to increase libido, boost sperm count, and even halt premature ejaculation.
The abundance of vitamin C makes saffron an invaluable tool in maintaining a healthy immune system. Without vitamin C, the immune system wouldn’t be able to produce white blood cells, which are the body’s primary defense against illness.
Saffron can soothe and aid the nerves thanks to its high concentration of vitamin B6 or pyridoxine.
Certain organic compounds and minerals in saffron have been linked to optimized calcium intake. As a result, saffron can facilitate bone mineralization and aid in strengthening the bones.
Saffron has a unique taste that has been likened to pungent and bitter honey. As such, even just a small amount of saffron is enough to infuse any dish with a lot of flavor. This versatile spice does well with all kinds of recipes, like paella, stew, and pie.
Saffron is quite popular in the Indian subcontinent, and is a major component of dishes like rice pilaf, rice pudding, and kulfi, or traditional Indian ice cream.
Although generally safe when used in medicine or as a food flavoring, saffron can be toxic in large doses. Taking in too much saffron can induce nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Saffron is packed with a wide variety of organic compounds, minerals, and vitamins that deliver plenty of health benefits. These range from improved blood pressure and health to a stronger immune system.
Saffron is an effective treatment against a wide spectrum of diseases such as gastrointestinal disorders, heart ailments, and circulation issues.
Saffron is safe and healthy in small amounts, but is dangerous if consumed in great amounts.
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