Saffron - The Costly Spice!
Saffron is one of the costliest spices derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, which is commonly known as the saffron crocus. Saffron is mainly known for its flavor, color and its medicinal uses. It has a special flavor because of the chemical components, picrocrocin and safranal. It also contains a natural carotenoid chemical compound, crocin, which gives saffron its golden-yellow hue. These traits along with its medicinal properties make it a valuable ingredient in many foods worldwide.
1 table spoon of saffron contains about 7Kcal of energy, and one serving of saffron (2-3 strands) contains 0.2 g of protein, 0.2 g of fat, 1.3 g of carbohydrates and 0.1 g of fiber. Saffron is rich in manganese, a nutrient which helps in the right functioning of the nervous system and also helps in the production of sex hormones. Many studies suggest that manganese can improve the quality of sex, and saffron could be one of the best methods to meet this function. . Saffron is also rich in potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. It is also said to increase blood count in individuals with low hemoglobin.
Saffron is also rich in vitamins like vitamin A, which helps in clear vision and vitamin C, which is important for skin and hair health. Many studies say that it helps in collagen production, which in turn helps in skin health. Many spas also have saffron included in their facial massage therapy for the same reason. Saffron is also said to decrease infections such as cold, cough, flu, sinus etc.
The main benefit found by herbalists of India and China is that this spice contains crocetin, a compound that acts as an anti-oxidant, by triggering cancer cell death and slowing tumor growth. So it can be said to possess cancer-preventive properties. Though this study still needs to be researched on, the benefits of this spice are many! Include them in your diet when you can!