Saffron Nutrition Facts and Medicinal Properties
Nutritional Facts of Saffron
In broad strokes, we can say that dried saffron is a carbohydrate-rich spice (over 60% of dried saffron is carbs) with a small amount of fat, protein, and water making up the balance.
However, if you’re trying to do a keto diet or watch your carbs, don’t worry, because the quantities of saffron that we use in cooking or even in nutrition supplementation are so small that you’d never even see a full gram of carbohydrates from it.
Saffron is fairly rich in manganese and has trace amounts of copper, iron, phosphorus and potassium, as well as some B vitamins.
But again, most people don’t eat a gram of saffron at a time (we hope!), so while it’s interesting to pick up some saffron nutrition facts for the sake of general knowledge, in reality, saffron is unlikely to have much of an impact on your %DV in any area.
Saffron’s Medicinal Properties
Saffron’s medicinal properties, however, are a wholly different story. Here’s where saffron really can make an impact on health and wellness, even in small (50mg-100mg) daily doses.
People have used saffron for its medicinal properties since ancient times, and modern scientific studies are, one after another, confirming the traditional uses of saffron in lab conditions.
So how can saffron help keep us in good health? The list is long, but here are some highlights:
Anti-Oxidants & Saffron
Saffron contains crocin, a carotenoid type antioxidant. For this reason, some researchers think that it can be used as an aid to controlling levels of blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides, and as a way of lowering body fat and overall body weight.
Saffron has been known for centuries as a potent natural anti-inflammatory. As such, it can be used by people suffering from inflammatory conditions, or just as a way to keep inflammation in check in otherwise healthy people.
Saffron is a natural mood enhancer, and in Iran has often been used for this property in rituals and ceremonies. And now, scientific research has indicated that saffron has a positive effect on people suffering from depression.
One French study found that patients who took a saffron extract experienced fewer and less intense food cravings—and were less likely to snack between meals. Good news for dieters! Saffron appears to work as an appetite suppressant, meaning that with saffron, it’s that much easier to stick to the plan.
Women in Persia and the Mediterranean have used saffron as a natural remedy for symptoms of PMS for generations. Medical research done in recent years has backed this up, showing that saffron appeared to significantly reduce the physical and emotional discomfort of PMS.
The Future: MS, Cancer, and Alzheimer’s
Although research is still in the early phases, scientists are now looking at how to put saffron’s medicinal properties, in particular, its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, to use in combating some of the most serious illnesses facing humankind. Researchers think that saffron may hold promise as a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.