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Saffron Benefits, Nutrition, Side Effects and How to Use It
Saffron: medicinal benefits of saffron
Saffron, which is also known as the golden spice; It has been giving our food a special taste and color for years. Research has shown that this expensive spice can help improve the immune system and increase energy levels as an antioxidant. Stay with us to know the health benefits of saffron .
Table of Contents:
- Chemical composition of saffron
- Dosage of saffron
- Getting to know the medicinal benefits of saffron
What is saffron?
Saffron is a plant with the scientific name Crocus sativus, belonging to the family of Asparagus and the family of Lilies. It is known as golden spice because of its yellow color and high price. For more than 4 thousand years, saffron has been used to make food fragrant and tasty. Today, more than 90% of the world's saffron is produced in Iran.
Saffron has various chemical compounds that are the main factors of its taste, color and benefits .
In history, many cases have been seen that saffron has been used as medicine to treat the following diseases:
asthma,muscle cramps,stress, anemia and heart failure.Also, saffron has analgesic benefits that are used as a natural pain reliever.
In modern medical science, the use of saffron for its healing benefits has also been used in solving the following problems:
treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS),
treating the body's resistance to insulin,
diseases related to the destruction of nerve cells,
Although the decisive role of saffron in the treatment of the above diseases has not yet been proven, it has been proven that the use of this valuable spice is quite effective in the treatment of diseases such as sexual problems, depression, premenstrual syndrome and Alzheimer's.
Nutritional value of saffron
A tablespoon of saffron has the following nutritional value:
Carbohydrates 1.37 grams
Fat 0.12 grams
protein 0.24 grams
vitamin C: 1.7 mg,
vitamin B9: 0.002 micrograms,
vitamin B6: 0.02 mg,
vitamin B3: 0.03 mg,
vitamin B2: 0. 01 mg
iron: 0.23 mg,
magnesium: 6 mg,
manganese: 0.6 mg,
copper: 0.01 mg,
phosphorus: 5 mg
potassium: 36 mg
kaempferol: 4.3 mg
Chemical composition of saffron
Earlier in an article, we examined the composition of saffron , now we will take a closer look at the chemical composition of saffron:
there are more than 150 active chemical compounds in this golden spice, the most important of which are responsible for the taste, smell, and more importantly, the effectiveness of saffron. They are:
Carotenoids: are a group of chemical compounds in plants that are responsible for the color of its leaves and petals. Also, the task of absorbing light in plants is also the responsibility of these compounds.
-Crocetin and crocin are carotenoids that create the yellow and red color of saffron.
Other important carotenoids of saffron are: (lycopene, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene) lycopene, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene.
Essential oil (Volatile oils): oil obtained from plants, which is also called essential oil or perfume.
- Picrocrocin: the main responsible for the taste of saffron.
-Safranal: the main responsible for the aroma of saffron. Saffron
is also a rich source of kaempferol, which is a type of yellow molecule that produces yellow pigments, as well as antioxidant benefits . It is antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-cancer. This substance is probably effective in the treatment of some diseases:
- type 2 diabetes
- heart failure
- preventing premature aging
Scientific benefits of saffron
The chemical compounds of saffron are responsible for its effective benefits for the health of the body. Saffron increases the level of proteins necessary for body growth and blood pressure. It helps healthy brain activities such as brain-derived neurogenic factor (BDNF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
Also, this spice has antioxidant benefits that destroy free radicals that may damage proteins and DNA inside cells. This miracle spice limits the growth of Amyloid beta proteins that lead to Alzheimer's.
In addition, it prevents the growth of acetylcholinesterase enzymes and reduces the level of acetylcholine in the body, which can cause problems for nerve messengers.
Saffron benefits It is not limited to these and you should know that the golden spice can reduce the level of cortisol and increase the level of estrogen; which leads to the health of the bones of the body.
Many of the healing benefits of saffron are thanks to the presence of the crocin molecule in the composition of this spice. Digestion of crocin is not an easy task for the body, and for this reason, the human digestive system converts it into crostin.
Crostin increases the production level of the happy hormone serotonin in the brain, and this is the reason why the treatment of depression with saffron is possible.
Safranal (safranal): Another chemical substance present in the composition of golden spices, which:
- Increases blood pressure and regulates heart rate.
- It is anti-allergic and stops the activity of histamines in the body.
- It disrupts the activity of acetylcholine in the body.
- Eliminates anxiety and stress.
Saffron also has antiviral benefits and prevents the entry of viruses into body cells.
Health benefits of saffron
Saffron has many benefits for the body, most of which are due to its antioxidant Benefits.
1. Saffron, a natural antioxidant,
was observed in a study in which 20 people (10 healthy people, 10 people with coronary artery disease) consumed saffron daily for 6 weeks. Both groups were effectively protected from oxidative free radicals in the body.
The antioxidant benefits of the golden spice prevent premature aging and protect your skin from the sun's rays, which can lead to the growth of cancer cells, and that is why saffron is used in creams and lotions. Sunscreens are used.
2. It strengthens the immune system
Regular consumption of saffron increases white blood cells. While this does not lead to an increase in red blood cells, as a result of problems such as blood concentration, it cannot be one of the effects of high consumption of saffron.
Also, preventing viral activity in body cells is another reason to prove the claim of increasing your immune system by saffron.
3. Consumption of saffron is energizing.
The carotenoids in saffron increase energy storage and strength in the muscles of the body. Also, the power of reaction and coordination between mind and eyes increases with these compounds.
By increasing blood pressure and oxygen reaching the muscles, saffron can be a good choice for athletes.
4. Reduction of premenstrual symptoms and difficulties
One of the oldest uses of saffron has been to reduce premenstrual symptoms and problems such as mood imbalances, muscle cramps, bloating and pimples.
5. Improving the heart function of
saffron by increasing the pumping capacity of the heart, thanks to the presence of kaempferol, reduces the risk of heart attack and vascular problems.
Many studies have proven the effect of saffron on reducing heart problems . Probably, the reason for this is the burning of cholesterol while the body converts crocin into crostin.
6. Improvement of sexual function
Research on 20 men suffering from erectile dysfunction showed that saffron compound for 10 days could increase the function and duration of erection in patients.
Another research on 25 diabetic patients with erectile dysfunction has shown that saffron gel and its use as an ointment can improve the performance of the patient.
In women, 4-week consumption of saffron has proven the effects of this natural medicine on increasing sexual desire and increasing vaginal secretions, which has resulted in solving the problem of painful intercourse.
7. Saffron fights cancer
The anti-cancer benefits of saffron have been proven in the treatment and prevention of lung, liver, breast, pancreas, colon, skin, prostate and ovarian cancers.
The anti-cancer effect of saffron is due to the presence of crocin. Crostin targets and destroys cancer cells.
8. Alzheimer's treatment
In a research, it was found that consuming saffron for 16 weeks increases brain activity and prevents its deterioration.
In a similar study, by injecting crocin into mice, it was proven to improve their memory capacity and performance.
Another study conducted on 54 Alzheimer's patients found that consuming saffron twice a day for 22 weeks has a better effect than Donepezil (Alzheimer's drug).
9. Weight loss
Saffron helps to lose weight:
-Reducing fat absorption
-Improving food digestion
-Reducing calories that can be absorbed from food
-Helping burn glucose and fat to provide energy
Saffron can lower blood cholesterol levels that cause heart attacks and diabetes. Reduce.
The experiment conducted on mice showed that consumption of crocin reduced their blood fat and body fat, which can be a proof of the claim that saffron is effective for weight loss .
10. Brain protection
Saffron has a positive effect on the brain. Many researches on cells and animals have shown that saffron helps to improve the function of the brain by the following factors:
- Improving the functioning of neurons
- The activity of antioxidants that prevent damage to the brain
- Protecting the brain from damage
-Preventing the death of cells in the brain
11. Wound healing
in mice, the paste made from saffron is known to be able to treat burns caused by boiling water. The reason for this is probably the antioxidant and antibiotic benefits of saffron.
Saffron ointment is able to raise the level of skin protective molecules, and its anti-inflammatory benefits help to treat and repair wounds on the skin.
12. Helping the health of bones
Saffron helps the health of the body's bones by increasing the level of estrogens, which are necessary for the growth and repair of bones.
13. Asthma treatment
In the past, saffron was used to treat lung spasms and asthma attacks.
The anti-inflammatory benefits of saffron help the smooth functioning of the lungs, although direct use on the lungs, such as inhalation of smoke or injection, has not yet been medically proven.
14. Improving liver function,
saffron helps your liver health for three reasons:
It fights with the growth of enzymes that have toxic and harmful products for the liver.
Its antioxidant benefits.
Modulation of liver cell structure.
15. Helping to treat diabetes,
saffron helps the function of insulin in the body.
16. Aids eye sight
Saffron improves blood flow in the eyes and prevents eye aging. This process happens due to the presence of crocin in saffron.
Dosage of saffron
Saffron should not be consumed more than twice a day and more than 30 to 50 mg per meal. The maximum consumption of saffron in a day is 1500 mg, which is less in pregnant women or those who are allergic to this spice for various reasons.
Doses above 5000 mg are toxic and even fatal. Pregnant women taking more than 5000 mg may experience miscarriage.
Side effects of saffron consumption
Saffron is a safe and healthy food supplement for your daily diet. But in very few cases, it may have side effects:
, loss of appetite,
. Some people may be allergic to the carotenoids in this spice.
Note that pregnant women should not consume saffron unless they have consulted their doctor. Despite all the benefits and advantages of consuming the golden spice, there is a lot of evidence that saffron may endanger the health of the fetus and the mother.
Earlier, in a complete article, we examined the effect of saffron consumption during pregnancy .
Consuming too much saffron for a long time can lead to a decrease in red blood cells in the body.
No drug interactions for saffron have been known to date.
However, it is recommended that if you take anti-depressant pills, since these pills are responsible for stimulating the brain to produce serotonin hormone, and consuming saffron also increases the production of this hormone, you may suffer from serotonin syndrome. It is very dangerous; Do not neglect to consult your doctor.
The benefits of saffron and the harm of its excessive use
The underground stem of saffron contains two bulbs, which are round and full and protected by a hard membrane, and this membrane itself is protected by a thin brown wall. Saffron flowers are purple in color and these flowers contain three petals that lead to sepals and are very regularly placed next to each other.
The stigma part of the flower or the part at the end of the cream of the flower is the original and first-grade saffron, and the cream stick is also called second-grade saffron.
To harvest saffron, the stigma part of each flower is separated and placed between paper to dry and prepare for packaging.
The most important benefits of saffron
Saffron has very useful benefits. The most important benefits of saffron: for lungs and better breathing, solving digestive problems and easier digestion of food, reducing pain and sometimes completely improving it, deep and better sleep, helping to reduce bleeding, beneficial for heart health and safety as much as possible. Regulating blood circulation and increasing it, preventing diabetes, helping the body's defense system and strengthening it, as well as being very useful for bone strength.
Getting to know the medicinal benefits of saffron
Saffron has more than 150 types of different combinations. For example: it includes carotenoids, safranal, crocin, antioxidants and most chemicals. As mentioned, the saffron plant has many benefits for the human body, including:
increasing blood circulation: saffron has the ability to provide the energy needed by the body, and because it increases blood circulation, the metabolic process in the body as well increase. The high concentration of iron in saffron causes an increase in red blood cells in the blood, which increases blood circulation and oxygen delivery to the various organs of the body.
Increasing body immunity: one of the most important benefits of saffron is increasing body immunity. This plant has a lot of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) which is very beneficial for health. The presence of vitamin C or ascorbic acid in saffron increases the production of white blood cells. This strengthens the immune system.
Protection of heart health: Considering the important role of the heart in the human body, heart health and its protection are very important. One of the ways to protect the health of the phleb and help it to function as well as possible is to consume food that has relatively higher amounts of potassium and saffron contains a large amount of potassium. Potassium causes the body's blood vessels to dilate, which prevents blood pressure from increasing and putting pressure on the blood vessels. This plays a very important role in heart health and prevents risks such as strokes and heart attacks.
One of the most important benefits of saffron is diabetes control. If you are suffering from this disease, control it by using saffron properly. There is a significant amount of manganese in saffron, which the body uses to control the level of sugar required by the body.
Disadvantages of consuming too much saffron
Excessive use of saffron reduces blood pressure and causes excessive blood thinning. In this case, many problems arise for the body. For example, excessive dilution of blood in women causes nosebleeds or uterine bleeding. Also, for women during pregnancy, especially the first three months of pregnancy, which is the most sensitive time during pregnancy, the consumption of saffron is not recommended at all. Because it causes abortion. During pregnancy, after the first three months of pregnancy, the consumption of saffron should be controlled by a gynecologist.
Excessive consumption of saffronIt causes vomiting, decreased heart rate, bleeding from the nose, bleeding from the eyelids and lips, and causes dizziness, lethargy, yellow skin, all of which lead to very dangerous side effects that sometimes lead to death. High consumption of saffron disturbs the work of kidneys and causes severe headache. It also sometimes causes sensory disturbances. During menstruation, it also causes increased stress and changes skin color and severe weakness.
Due to the warm nature of saffron, its excessive consumption causes severe diarrhea, in which case the body loses a lot of water and sometimes causes blood to be seen in the urine in this situation. The permissible amount of saffron in general and in any form is up to one tenth of a gram per day for an adult. In case of medicinal use of this plant, its consumption is allowed up to 1 gram per day. If more than 3 grams of saffron is consumed during pregnancy, it causes heavy bleeding and miscarriage, and if the bleeding is not prevented, the death of the mother is certain.
Many sports supplements contain compounds that contain saffron. Be very careful when using any type of diet, because long-term consumption of saffron also causes many side effects. Especially if you use saffron in your diet to lose weight, be sure to consult a doctor or nutritionist. In any case, the duration of your diet should not exceed six weeks and this diet should be under the supervision of a doctor and nutritionist. Avoid the amount of saffron supplement without the permission of your doctor or fitness trainer and do not reduce or increase its amount.
Another important point in using saffron is to make sure that the saffron you use is original and not fake, because fake saffron is made from artificial colors and unsanitary materials that are not recommended for consumption. In fake saffron compositions, saffron is used in a very small amount.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is saffron?
Saffron is a permanent and herbaceous plant with a tuberous underground stem called a worm, which is called a saffron bulb. The saffron onion is plump, spherical and with a brown coating, which is placed in the subsoil. The flower is the first part of the plant that comes out of the soil in mid-autumn. Each onion has 1 to 3 purple flowers and each flower has 6 petals. The pistil is located in the center of the flower and has a glandular ovary, and a thin cream comes out from the ovary.
Name the types of saffron?
- Bunch Saffron
- Pushal Saffron
- Sargol saffron
- Negin saffron
- Kanj or white saffron