Spices are used to enhance food flavoring, but they’re also a great way to improve your health. When it comes to spices, you have options from sweet and salty to strong, mild, and savory.
One of the world’s most expensive spice is saffron, with one-pound costing between 500 to 5,000 US dollars.
If you’ve ever wondered what makes saffron so expensive, it’s because it is labor-intensive to cultivate, which makes production quite expensive.
Saffron originated in Greece and was hailed for its medicinal properties. Saffron was consumed to boost libido, mood, and even memory. Here are some other benefits of saffron which you may not know of.
8 Benefits of Saffron
Antioxidants: Saffron is packed with powerful antioxidants including crocin, crocetin, safranal, and kaempferol. These antioxidants have been hailed for their ability to reduce depression, improve brain cells and inflammation, reduce appetite, and aid in weight loss.
Mood: Studies have shown that saffron may be more effective than a placebo in treating mild-to-moderate depression, with fewer side effects than many antidepressants. Additional research is required to determine if saffron is a viable treatment for depression.
Libido: Some research suggests that saffron is an aphrodisiac. One study found that consuming 30 mg of saffron daily over a months’ time related to improved erectile function among men with antidepressant-related erectile dysfunction. Other studies revealed that saffron improves libido, erectile function, and overall sexual satisfaction.
Appetite and weight loss: Saffron may aid in the reduction of snacking, which can contribute to weight loss. Women who took saffron supplements felt fuller, snacked less frequently, and lost more weight compared to the placebo group. It isn’t fully understood how saffron aids in weight loss, but it is theorized that because saffron elevates your mood, you are less likely to snack.
Heart: Animal studies have found that the antioxidants in saffron may help reduce cholesterol and prevent arteries from clogging, which protects the heart.
Blood sugar: Saffron may reduce blood sugar levels in mice models.
Eyes: Saffron has appeared to benefit adults with age-related macular degeneration as it protects the eyes against free radical damage.
Memory: Antioxidants in saffron may protect the brain and improve cognition in Alzheimer’s patients.
Saffron can easily be incorporated into savory dishes such as paella, risotto, and other rice dishes. You don’t need a lot of saffron to experience its flavoring.
To properly use saffron, soak the threads in hot – not boiling – water and add the liquid to your dishes.
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