While at work the other day, I had a lady come in and purchase 20 grams of saffron threads. This may not sound like a lot but, to put it in perspective, this much saffron could last in an average household for a year if not two. I asked her if she was a huge fan of paella perhaps and was surprised by her response: “Oh, it’s not to eat. I had a friend come back from Morocco and she told me that they use it as a beauty product over there and that it inhibits wrinkles!” I had never before heard of these benefits related to saffron, assuming it was just a luxurious addition to recipes. It turns out, after a bit of research and fact checking, that saffron really is a wonder stem of the world.
Once used as merely a coloring for exotic rice dishes, saffron is now earning its rightful place in the health world. Studies covering a vast range of ailments and how saffron aids in their cure are being documented allowing for a truly surprising revelation that could make saffron a staple in western diets.
- A powerful anti-oxidant due to its non-volatile active components including α-crocin, zea-xanthin, lycopene and α- and β-carotenes. I.e. They fight cancers and infections.
- A good source of vital vitamins and minerals including copper, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin-C, iron, zinc and manganese.
- Aids digestions by promoting blood flow to the organs involved in your digestive system. It can also calm down gas and bloating issues.
- Help prevent UTI’s. Due to its ability to stimulate the function of the kidney, saffron works similar to cranberry juice in helping get rid of a UTI or preventing one in the first place.
- Research has been conducted that supports the idea that saffron may help aid people who suffer from depression due to its effects on neurotransmitters.
- Promotes good memory due to containing crocin, a compound that has been found to stimulate the brain and allow for better learning and recall.
- Saffron can help people with irregular or uneasy sleep patterns due to its sedative effect on the body.
- Reduces and prevents wrinkles. By adding a slight amount of saffron to your face cream, it is said that the properties of saffron promote rejuvenation in skin cells making for a better appearance for your overall complexion and may also prevent fine lines.
Phew! There’s much more to mention but we’ll start with these benefits for now.
How to introduce it to your current diet:
Saffron is expensive in Australia but this is due to the manual labour involved in picking the stamen from the flowers and also the limitation of where saffron can grow. Be wary, however, that you don’t need a lot to acquire some of the health benefits of it. A tiny pinch of saffron is enough for a whole rice dish or a tea.
To add saffron to your diet, simply add a pinch here and there to Middle Eastern and Spanish dishes, make a tea from it by adding a pinch to a cup of 90* water then sweeten it with your favorite natural sweetener or add to a glass of cold milk before bedtime.
There you have it – Everything I didn’t (and maybe you didn’t) know about saffron. Hopefully this information is revealing to you to and is making you want to run out to your nearest eastern spice supplier or at least eat a little more paella rice.
Please note – Saffron should be avoided if you are pregnant or if you have allergies to certain flora. We are not medical professionals so please consult with your health care specialist to see if saffron is safe to introduce to your diet.