Saffron is the red-yellow stigma of the crocus flower. It has to be hand-picked during the short annual flowering season that is no more than one week long. Saffron is also extremely special because it is known as the most expensive spice on earth. Why is it the most expensive? That’s because it takes roughly 4,500 crocus flowers to make up just one ounce of saffron spice…
Protects against cancer
Saffron contains a dark orange, water-soluble carotene called crocin, which is responsible for much of saffron’s golden color. Research has found that crocin triggers apoptosis which is a programmed cell death in various types of human cancer cells. Saffron extract studies have had promising results showing its active components display an ability to inhibit human malignant cells. Saffron has been found to have no such effect on normal cells and actually stimulates their formation and that of lymphocytes.
Saffron is an excellent source of potassium, which is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Studies have shown the necessity of having enough potassium-rich foods in your diet.
Powerful source of manganese and copper
Saffron is a powerful source of the minerals manganese and copper. The human body uses manganese and copper as cofactors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Manganese helps the body form connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. It also assists and is necessary for normal brain and nerve function. When it comes to the copper in Saffron, research shows it plays a beneficial role in the function of our immune system. Copper has a beneficial role in immune function. Copper is also necessary for healthy white blood cells, which are the cell type tasked with seeking out, identifying and destroying pathogens.
Relieves anxiety and may be an aphrodisiac
Studies have found that saffron may relieve mild depression and improve mood if regularly added to the diet. Researchers have discovered that the many active compounds in saffron have some effect on the endocrine system and will stimulate the release of beneficial hormones that keep us happy and healthy. It has been hailed as a natural antidepressant by numerous research studies and organizations. Plus, studies have had results suggesting this same effect has also been known to act as an aphrodisiac.
Lowers Insulin Resistance
A leading factor in the development of diabetes is insulin resistance which is a condition in which your cells stop responding to insulin normally. Crocetin which is found in saffron is known to be a major player in the battle against insulin resistance. In recent research in an animal study, it was found that crocetin and its antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties lessened the insulin resistance in the rats fed a high fructose diet. These promising results suggest that saffron may help to stop the impact of the occasional sugary treat.