Everything good is worth waiting for. These wise words apply perfectly to the world’s most highly prized spice: Saffron.
What Is Saffron?
The Crocus sativus plant, native to southern Europe, produces a beautiful purple flower during the autumn months. In the middle of this flower are several reddish gold strands, known as stigmas. These stigmas are carefully hand-plucked, and are what’s known commonly as saffron. Curious about how they’re harvested? Watch this:
Health Benefits of Saffron
The research community is simply spilling over with ground-breaking studies about saffron’s impressive health effects. One of the main active compounds found in saffron is called crocin. Crocin is responsible for much of saffron’s awesome effects on your body and mind.
Not to mention, saffron is a great source of copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and Vitamin C (phew)!
Saffron for Weight Loss
Saffron is useful for anyone who wants to get rid of their extra weight. Not only will it help you to drop unhealthy pounds, it can minimize the health risks that are commonly associated with being overweight including cardiovascular events and diabetes. Use saffron to:
- Decrease cholesterol
- Reduce fat absorption
- Decrease appetite
- Lower blood sugar
Saffron and Mental Health
The things you eat can directly affect your mood and even your cognitive functions. Thankfully, this valuable spice can only do good for your brain and your mental health. When consumed, saffron will act as an anti-depressant. Even better, it has been proven to enhance memory. The effect is so significant that research has already begun to determine its use for preventing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Saffron and Cancer
The fight against cancer doesn’t start with a diagnosis; it’s a daily commitment to keep your body as healthy as possible and protect it from harmful environments. That’s why saffron is such an important ingredient for fighting what doesn’t have to be a terminal disease. It will:
- Act as an antioxidant, destroying cancer-causing free radicals
- Help prevent cancerous tumors
- Causes cancer cell death (without affecting healthy cells)
- Reduce inflammation (when chronic, this condition fosters cancer cell growth)
How to Use Saffron
Saffron’s biggest reputation comes from the kitchen. It gives a great addition to flavor (and color!) when you add it to foods. In fact, you can try using it as a natural alternative to store-bought food coloring! You can also use it to flavor your coffee, spice up your fish, and add a unique taste to your cauliflower rice recipe.
You should buy dried whole saffron stigmas whenever possible, as opposed to the powdered variety which are sometimes cut with cheaper spices. Saffron should always be vibrantly colored, so if it has grey streaks or light colors, keep walking.
But this spice isn’t just for your food! Mix saffron with coconut oil and apply to your face for 15 minutes for glowing, radiant skin. Combine it with olive oil and massage into your skin to keep it soft. Stimulate excellent circulation by rubbing saffron and honey onto your face, and rinsing with warm water.