Saffron: Benefits And Harms

Saffron or “red gold” is the most expensive food product in the world. With the average global price for one kilogram of saffron at $6,000, its cost can even reach $35,000.

Saffron has such an incredible price for several reasons. The first is that crocuses bloom only once a year. At the same time, the duration of their flowering is no more than 2 weeks.

The second reason for the high price is the laboriousness of the harvesting process. Harvesting takes place only in the pre-dawn hours, as the sun’s rays are harmful to the stigmas of the crocus. In order to get just 1 g of this spice, it is necessary to collect 150 flowers and carefully separate their stigmas. Each flower has only 3 stigmas.

The third reason is the medicinal properties of the spice. It has been scientifically proven that regular consumption of saffron dishes or medicines made from it stops the growth of tumors, and in the early stages, it promotes their regression (reverse development).

The nutritional value of saffron

Although saffron is a spice, it has an extremely rich composition of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, essential oils, and other biologically active substances. The caloric content of this spice is 310 kcal per 100 g.

Dry saffron stigmas contain:

  • Proteins – 11.5 g.
  • Fats – 5.9 g.
  • Carbohydrates – 61.5 g.

Saffron contains the following nutrients:

  • Vitamins (A, groups B, C, PP).
  • Macro- and microelements (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, selenium).
  • Essential oils, glycosides (saffron, geraniol, limonene, cineole, terpinene, pinene, linalool).
  • Carotenoids, contained in large quantities in the spice, give it a juicy yellow-brown hue. The essential oils in the composition also contribute to the spice’s specific spicy aroma.

However, the content of nutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) in saffron can be neglected, since the amount in which this spice is used in cooking, they do not have a special effect on the calorie content of the diet. More important are vitamins, minerals, and essential oils, which get into dishes unchanged when using this seasoning in cooking.

Useful properties of saffron

The benefits of saffron were known to ancient healers and shamans. Regular consumption of spices cleanses the blood and liver and has a positive effect on skin color.

Saffron has a unique ability to cleanse toxic substances from the body that accumulate in the body over the course of a lifetime.

Spice is used in the treatment of cancer.

It helps to remove cancer cells. Since saffron helps to cleanse the blood and improves blood circulation, it is useful to include it in the diet during the treatment of leukemia.

The substances it contains improve vision and treat cataracts and other diseases, so the spice extract is used in eye drops.

The aroma of saffron has healing properties, as it helps to get rid of headaches, insomnia, stress, and other problems with the nervous system.

Saffron contains a large number of antioxidants that protect the body from the negative effects of free radicals and improve immunity. It also contains potassium, which normalizes heart rate and blood pressure. It is recommended to use saffron for women with painful periods and menstrual irregularities. In addition, the spice improves potency.

Choosing and storing saffron

To choose high-quality, and most importantly, genuine saffron, you need to follow a few rules:

  • Do not trust a product with a very low price tag. To recoup the cost of the product, it is simply unprofitable for the seller to organize “promotions” and “discounts”.
  • Do not buy ground saffron. In this case, the risk of buying a fake is extremely high.
  • Fresh saffron should have a rich color, and there should be no yellow “legs” at the base.

To store saffron for as long as possible, you need to place it in a sealed place that is inaccessible to light. The temperature should not fall below room temperature. Under ideal conditions, saffron can be stored for up to two years.

Harm and contraindications of saffron use

Avoid excessive use of saffron to avoid harming your health Saffron contains a huge amount of active elements and is therefore a potent remedy. That is why it should be used with caution. There are also a number of contraindications.

Therefore, you should not consume saffron:

  • Children under the age of 3.
  • People with diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
  • Pregnant and lactating women.
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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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