Health Benefits of Saffron
Crocus or Saffron, as it is commonly called, is one of the most valuable spices of ancient cultures for its aroma, colour and medicinal properties. Greek saffron is also of excellent quality, aroma and colour, and is one of the best varieties in the world!
The Krokos Kozanis is grown organically in Kozani, a small town in northern Greece. The saffron flowers are cultivated by the locals and is carefully hand-cut and dried, giving the best quality and Protected Designation of Origin-certified saffron. Each flower has only three crimson stigmas and it takes about 50,000 stigmas to produce 100 grams of the red saffron, thereby giving it its value.
What are some of the benefits of saffron?
Research has shown that one may reap health benefits from saffron:
- Contains a variety of plant compounds that act as anti-oxidants such as crocin, crocetin, safranal and kaempferol that possess anti-depressant properties, protect brain cells against progressive damage, improve inflammation and promote weight loss.
- High levels of anti-oxidants in saffron help to neutralise harmful free radicals. Test-tube studies have shown to selectively kill cancer cells although more human studies are still needed.
- Helps relief pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms such as irritability, headache, craving and pain for women.
- Helps curb appetite and aids weight loss.
- Potentially reduces heart disease risk, lowers blood sugar levels, improves eyesight and memory, although more studies are needed to draw stronger conclusions.
What are some of the amazing uses of saffron?
- Saffron can be easily brewed as a cup of tea by steeping 2-3 threads in hot (not boiling) water. It has a subtle, distinct and aromatic taste.
- Saffron can also be easily added to your diet by soaking a small pinch in hot (not boiling) water and using the liquid in your recipes.
- Saffron generally pairs well with savoury dishes and is generally safe with little to no side effects.
What are some other facts you need to know about saffron?
- It's best to purchase saffron in its thread form for more versatility and less likelihood of being adulterated.
- While it's an expensive spice, a small amount goes a long way! About 30mg of saffron is sufficient for you to reap its benefits.
- Pregnant woman though, should avoid saffron as high dosages may cause miscarriages.
- Real saffron is expensive to harvest and there are risks that it may be adulterated with other ingredients. Therefore, it is important to purchase an authentic product from reputable supplies. It's best to avoid saffron that comes across as too cheap.
- Saffron is also available in supplement form. However, it's best to speak to your doctor before consuming the supplement.
Note: Do consult your doctor should you have any pre-existing conditions prior to consumption.