It is no secret that spices have amazing benefits for your brain and body.
Ancient cultures around the world have cherished saffron for centuries and have cultivated it for a variety of reasons, including use as a culinary spice, digestive aid, and mood-boosting aphrodisiac.
Derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, saffron is produced just as it has been since ancient times. The stigmas (the inside part of the flower which catches pollen) must be painstakingly handpicked and dried as machines are not delicate enough. In addition to being a delicious and valuable ingredient, vibrantly-hued saffron has several surprising health benefits. Consider the following ways saffron might help you:
1. Helps Your Mood
Multiple research studies suggest that saffron may support healthy levels of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of happiness and well-being. Saffron is high in carotenoids and B vitamins that help increase the levels of serotonin and other chemicals in the brain that are associated with depression.
In fact, a meta-analysis of five studies found saffron extract to be as effective as antidepressant medication in treating people with major depression.
2. Supports Your Immune System
This colorful and delicious spice has many powerful important antioxidants, such as a-crocin, zea-xanthin, lycopene, a- and ß-carotenes, that help protect the human body from infections, improves eyesight, fights oxidant-induced stress and cancers, and which act as immune modulators.
3. Promotes Learning and Memory
Saffron also has a beneficial impact on learning, concentration, memory, and age related mental impairment. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics found that saffron improved cognitive function in participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Suppresses Your Appetite
Studies show that saffron enhances the serotonin levels in our body, which helps suppress the appetite or the impulse to eat. A particular saffron extract was found to reduce food cravings and other inappropriate food habits in clinical trials. It reduced feelings of hunger and lowered frequency of snacking, supporting appetite moderation and healthy weight management.