Saffron is highly rich in active ingredients that make it not only the spice of royalty but a medicinal powerhouse. Saffron offers a wide range of health benefits including the ability to enhance immune function, relieve pain, and improve heart health among others.
What is Saffron?
Saffron is a popular spice derived from the flower of a plant called Crocus sativus. The style and stigmas of the flower of the saffron crocus as the plant is also called are dried and processed to make the popular spice. Saffron has a unique reddish orange color, spectacular flavor, and an excellent taste. It can be used as a seasoning and food dye, but can also provide several health benefits. Saffron contains over 150 volatile compounds like carotenoids, crocin, safranal, antioxidants, vitamins, mineral, and other phytochemicals beneficial to human health.
Saffron can be used as a spice in dried or powder form. But it is also available in the form of supplements. You can also use it in hot drinks, broths, or apply topically in oils for massage. Here are some of the benefits of saffron for your health.
Enhances Immune System Function
Due to the high concentration of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C in saffron, the spice can help boost immune function by promoting white blood cells production. As you know, white blood cells are vital to the body's defense mechanism, and the high levels of ascorbic acid in saffron means the spice can help protect the body against diseases, promote the production of collagen which is vital for muscle growth, enhanced wound healing, tissue synthesis, and repair of blood vessels.
Improves Heart Health
Saffron can help promote heart health because it is rich in potassium, an important mineral for optimal heart function. Potassium helps to promote heart health by acting as a vasodilator which reduces blood pressure and stress, effectively alleviating pressure on the cardiovascular system and enhancing the function of the heart.
A healthy heart is essential for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases such as strokes, heart attacks, and atherosclerosis.
Saffron can also boost circulation due to its high concentration of iron. The abundance in iron means that saffron use can help increase the number of red blood cells in the body, effectively skyrocketing circulation. Improved circulation increases the supply of oxygenated blood in the body and boosts your metabolism and energy production. This results in overall improved efficiency in metabolic and biophysical function of the body. Higher numbers of RBCs also protect against anemia.
Protects Against Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the most dangerous chronic diseases in the world today, killing hundreds of thousands every year. The high concentration of manganese in saffron may help promote the stability of blood sugar levels. Improved regulation of blood sugar, insulin and glucose levels can help safeguard you against developing type 2 diabetes or control the symptoms if you already have diabetes.
The safranal in saffron is a volatile compound which has analgesic powers because it can act as a sedative. Its sedative properties make it effective for pain relief, reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep quality, and calming and relaxing the body and mind.