Saffron is one of the most valued spices in the culinary world, because of the amazing color it imparts to the dish, a great flavor and fantastic medicinal properties. Many people wonder about what saffron actually is. It is in fact the dried stigmas of the flower of plant Crocus sativus. Crocus sativus is a perennial bulbous plant belonging to family Iridaceae.
This superb spice is native to Southern Europe but is cultivated in many countries all over the world, especially in Spain, Greece, Italy, Iran, France, Turkey and India (in the state of Jammu and Kashmir).
Health Benefits of Saffron
Besides its pleasant smell, color and taste, saffron has some outstanding medicinal properties too for which it should be included in our diet. Here are some prominent health benefits of saffron.
Rich in Antioxidants: Saffron contains several phytochemicals that are potent antioxidants and therefore are disease preventing and health boosting.
Essential Oils: There are many volatile essential oils in the flower pistils, the most important of which is safranal which offers saffron its outstanding flavor. Other essential oils in saffron are phenethenol, cineole, borneol, pinene, limonene, terpinen-4-oil, p-cymene, linalool, geraniol and so on.
Non-volatile Active Compounds: Saffron is also rich in non-volatile active compounds the most important among which is a-crocin, which is a carotenoid compound and offers pistils their characteristic golden yellow color. There are other carotenoids in saffron too including lycopene, zeaxantin, and alpha- and beta-carotenes. All of them are important antioxidants that protect human body against oxidative stress, infections and cancers, and work as immune modulators.
Used in Medicines: Saffron is used in many traditional medicines because of its therapeutic properties as antioxidant, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, digestive and antiseptic.
Rich in Vitamins: Saffron is packed with several vital vitamins including vitamin A, riboflavin, folic acid, niacin and vitamin C all of which are necessary for optimum health.
Rich in Minerals: Saffron is loaded with minerals like potassium, copper, manganese, zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium and selenium. Potassium is an important constituent of cells and body fluids and helps control blood pressure and heart rate. Copper and manganese are used by human body as co-factors for superoxide dismutase. Iron is important for production of red blood cells and as a co-factor for enzymes cytochrome oxidases.
For highest quality saffron, visit Herat Saffron Co. Here you will get the purest Afghan saffron produced in the Herat Province of Afghanistan.
So, if till now you were ignoring saffron, start using it and you will be in the pink of health.