Saffron is a flowering plant used to make one of the most valuable spices in the world. It is very expensive due to the fact tens of thousands of blossoms are required to make just a pound of spice.
The yellow powder is used in a variety of dishes as well as in cosmetic products, but it is also used for its medicinal properties. Individuals use saffron to treat a plethora of serious medical conditions.
Saffron may also have some general health benefits, which is precisely why many individuals regularly take it as a supplement.
Health Benefits of Saffron
Get the full details on some of the major health benefits of consuming saffron on a regular basis now.
1. Lowers Blood Sugar
Researchers have found saffron supplementation reduces blood glucose over time. This effect is augmented when the saffron supplementation regimen is combined with an exercise program.
These findings may be helpful in treating diabetes mellitus. While saffron is not usually prescribed to patients with diabetes initially, these patients may benefit from taking saffron supplements in addition to following a doctor’s advice.
Saffron cannot be a stand-alone treatment for high blood sugar, but it may be very helpful in regulating blood glucose over the long term.
The condition of having high blood sugar s called hyperglycemia and it can have a number of serious health effects if it is chronic. Daily saffron supplementation could be a potential game-changer.
2. Improves Eyesight
Saffron contains copious amounts of carotenoids and antioxidants. Carotenoids are pigments that are essential for eye health, and antioxidants reduce or reverse damage to the cells in the body.
The carotenoids found in saffron help to prevent macular degeneration, which is a disease that causes progressive vision loss and eventually blindness. It typically occurs in older individuals, and once it begins, it is not curable.
However, promoting good eye health by consuming saffron can protect against this disease. The antioxidants present in saffron also help prevent damage to the cells in the eyes.
3. Boosts Mood
For many individuals, saffron boosts their mood. In fact, there are some studies indicating saffron may be useful as a natural antidepressant. Scientists were able to demonstrate supplemental saffron led to an improvement in the symptoms of patients dealing with depression.
The effects of saffron were comparable to those of prescription antidepressant medications. These results came from small studies. Therefore, it is not certain saffron will become a standard treatment for depression in the future, though it does show a lot of promise.
Depression patients may want to consider adding a daily saffron supplement to their treatment regimen while continuing to follow the advice of a doctor.
Saffron may also help with premenstrual syndrome. Women who have bad mood swings before their periods may benefit from a saffron supplement to regulate this.
4. Assists with Cognitive Function
One of the health benefits of saffron is the way it assists with cognitive function. Some research has demonstrated saffron supplements might even be helpful in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Saffron may even be as effective as the medications for Alzheimer’s disease currently on the market. Researchers believe saffron stops the body from depositing amyloid beta in the brain. The buildup of amyloid beta plaques is thought to be linked to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
When this buildup is prevented or slowed, the symptoms of the disease do not worsen as quickly. Unfortunately, the studies done on this have been relatively small and it cannot be determined with certainty whether saffron is actually a viable treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
However, it certainly does not hurt for patients to take saffron supplements in addition to following the regimen their doctors prescribe.
5. Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Saffron may reduce the risk of heart disease in individuals who consume it regularly. According to some studies, taking saffron supplements may reduce blood cholesterol.
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, which is why it is important to get cholesterol levels down. Taking saffron supplements or adding saffron to food is a good idea for individuals concerned about their cholesterol.
An easy way to get saffron into one’s diet is to make saffron tea. The spice is also commonly added to rice, as an effective method of giving rice more flavor.
In the end, it does not really matter how someone chooses to consume saffron, as the effects will be the same whether the individual eats saffron, drinks it, or takes it as a supplement.