It must be noted that no one will eat an ounce of saffron in one sitting; recipes usually call for half a teaspoon or less, but examining an ounce is a good way to determine the nutritional aspects of this intriguing spice. First, the manganese content is off the charts at nearly 400% of the daily recommended value! Everything else seems a little chintzy after that, but the next-largest nutritional quantities also are quite impressive: vitamin C – 38%; magnesium – 18%; and iron – 17%. Potassium and vitamin B6 both impart 14% of the daily recommended value.
Manganese helps regulate blood sugar, metabolize carbohydrates, and absorb calcium. It also helps form tissues, bones, and sex hormones. Vitamin C is an infection fighter; iron purifies your blood; and the vitamin B6 content helps form red blood cells and assures nerves will function as they should. Potassium helps balance fluids in cells, which, if low, can cause painful muscle cramps.
Beyond that, saffron contains more than 150 volatile compounds, among others. Picrocrocin, for instance, is the main substance responsible for the strong taste. Safranal brings saffron its characteristic odor and fragrance. Crocin, which delivers the intense orange color, is an indication of this spice’s medicinal qualities, i.e. its powerful carotenoids and antioxidants that can protect your body from free radical damage.
Although people often think of spices as nothing but food flavoring tools, they still contain high concentrations of certain important nutrients, including vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is important for human health, as it stimulates the immune system’s production of white blood cells, the body’s first line of defense against illness, and also is crucial to the production of collagen, which is necessary for cellular production in the body and contributes to wound healing, muscle growth, blood vessel repair, and tissue production.
Saffron can function as an effective energy booster and can increase your metabolism by increasing your blood circulation. The high concentration of iron means that saffron increases your RBC, which thereby stimulates circulation and oxygenation of organ systems and the body’s extremities. This improves efficiency and functionality of our tissues and organ systems for healthier metabolic activity and prevents the symptoms of anemia.
Protects Heart Health
Improving the health of the heart seems to be one of the top goals in human health today, and one simple way to do this is to increase your potassium intake. Potassium acts as a vasodilator, effectively lowering the stress and pressure on blood vessels and arteries, allowing blood pressure to decrease and relieving strain on the cardiovascular system. This can prevent things like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes from occurring.
The significant levels of manganese can help the body optimize its blood sugar levels. Diabetes is one of the most dangerous and widespread conditions in our world today, affecting millions of people globally. By regulating your blood sugar, insulin, and glucose levels, you can effectively prevent the onset of type II diabetes or manage the symptoms if you already suffer from this affliction.
Saffron has been known to relieve mild depression and improve mood in those who regularly consume it. The many active compounds in saffron have some effect on the endocrine system and can stimulate the release of beneficial hormones that keep us happy and healthy. For women, this same effect has also been known to act as an aphrodisiac. It has been hailed as a natural antidepressant by numerous research studies and organizations.
Improves Bone Strength
Some of the minerals and organic compounds in saffron have been linked to optimized nutrient uptake, particularly of calcium. By maximizing the amount of calcium that our body can absorb from food, we have a better chance of improving bone mineral density and preventing the onset of conditions like osteoporosis and other degenerative age-related diseases.
Improves Nerve Function
The vitamin B family is one that is often overlooked in human health, but it plays a major role in nerve function throughout the body. More specifically, the high content of vitamin B6 found in saffron spice can help our nervous system in running smoothly and prevent some of the deadly and dangerous disorders that arise from poor nervous system function.
Pain relief is always a valuable asset to an herb or natural remedy, and the volatile compound safranal in saffron acts as a sedative for many patients. This sedative action can help to relieve pain, reduce anxiety and stress, improve sleep patterns, and generally soothe the mind and body, which is always a good thing!
With more than 100 different compounds acting within saffron’s complex form, antioxidants were bound to make an appearance. There are dozens of antioxidant compounds found in saffron, many of which seek out and neutralizefree radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause healthy cells to mutate or die. This boosts the general health of the immune system, but more specifically, can prevent cancer from developing or spreading in the body.
Reduces Stomach Disorders
One of the oldest and most well-known uses of saffron is for upset stomachs and excess flatulence. The sedative and anti-inflammatory nature of saffron helps to calm the stomach and reduce inflammation, which eases things like constipation, bloating, cramping, and serious conditions like gastric ulcers.