Seven Impressive Health Benefits of Saffron


Seven Impressive Health Benefits of Saffron

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Saffron may have antioxidant and anticancer benefits. But some people should avoid high doses.
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world — with 1 pound (450 grams) costing between $500 and $5,000.
The reason for its high price is its labor-intensive harvesting method, which makes its production costly.
Saffron is harvested by hand from the Crocus sativus flower, commonly known as the saffron crocus. The term “saffron” applies to the flower’s thread-like structures called stigma.
While saffron’s origin is still debated, it most likely originated in Iran. There, it was revered for its medicinal properties. People would eat saffron to enhance libido, boost mood, and improve memory .
Here are 11 impressive health benefits of saffron.
 
1. A powerful antioxidantSaffron

Contains an impressive variety of plant compounds. These act as antioxidants — molecules that protect your cells against free radicals
and oxidative stress.
Notable saffron antioxidants include :
crocin
crocetin
safranal
kaempferolCrocin and crocetin are carotenoid pigments responsible for saffron’s red color. Both compounds may :
have antidepressant properties
protect brain cells against progressive damage
improve inflammation
reduce appetite
aid weight lossSafranal gives saffron its distinct taste and aroma. Research shows that it may help improve your mood, memory, and learning ability, as well as protect your brain cells against oxidative stress .
Lastly, kaempferol is found in saffron flower petals. This compound has been linked to health benefits, such as reduced inflammation, anticancer properties, and antidepressant activity .

2. May improve mood and treat

depressive symptomsSaffron is nicknamed the sunshine spice. This is not just due to its distinct color but also because it may help brighten your mood.
In a review of five studies, saffron supplements were significantly more effective than placebos at treating symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression .
Other studies found that taking 30 mg of saffron daily was just as effective as Fluoxetine, Imipramine, and Citalopram — conventional treatments for depression. Additionally, fewer people experienced side effects from saffron than from other treatments .
Both the saffron petals and thread-like stigma appear to be effective against mild-to-moderate depression .
While these findings are promising, longer human studies with more participants are needed before experts can recommend saffron as a treatment for depression.

3. May reduce appetite and aid weight

lossSnacking is a common habit that may cause you to gain weight. According to research, saffron may help prevent snacking by curbing your appetite.
In one 8-week study, women taking saffron supplements felt significantly more full, snacked less frequently, and lost significantly more weight than women in the placebo group.
In another 8-week study, taking a saffron extract supplement helped significantly reduce appetite, body mass index, waist circumference, and total fat mass .
 
4.May reduce heart disease risk factors.

 Animal and test-tube studies indicate that saffron’s antioxidant properties may lower blood cholesterol and prevent blood vessels and arteries from clogging (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).
 
5.May lower blood sugar levels.

 Saffron may lower blood sugar levels and raise insulin sensitivity, as seen in test-tube studies and mice with diabetes (24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source).
 
6.May improve eyesight in adults with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

 Saffron appears to improve eyesight in adults with AMD and protect against free radical damage, which is linked to AMD (26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source).

 
7.May improve memory in adults with Alzheimer’s disease.

 Saffron’s antioxidant properties may improve cognition in adults with
Alzheimer’s disease (29Trusted Source).

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