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5 healthy reasons for including saffron in your diet

5 healthy reasons for including saffron in your diet

Here's why you should drink a glass of saffron milk every day.

Written by Bhakti Paun Sharma |Updated : April 14, 2016 1:27 PM IST

Read this in Hindi.

Saffron considered the gold of spices has umpteen benefits for your skin, hair and overall health. It is widely used across the world for its flavour, aroma and medicinal properties. Not just that, saffron face packs and facials can give you bright and glowing skin too. Here are some health benefits of this expensive spice.

Improves vision

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According to a study published in the Journal ofInvestigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, saffron is known to protect the retina against oxidative damage [1]. Macular degeneration, which is caused due to damaged blood vessels in the macula, can also be prevented with saffron. Retinal damage may be caused due to high cholesterol level in the body and saffron s cholesterol lowering properties prevent it. In fact, studies have also proved that anti-cholesterol drugs can prevent macular degeneration. Hence, saffron can be an effective natural remedy. These 5 conditions can be the cause of retinal diseases.

Reduces cancer risk [2]

Saffron inhibits the formation and reduces the progression of tumours in the body. Topical application of saffron is effective in reducing the risk of skin cancer by inhibiting carcinogens that cause it. Saffron also helps counter the side effects of chemotherapy like excessive weight loss, drop in leukocyte counts and haemoglobin levels to some extent. Adding saffron to your diet increases the level of carotenes and Vitamin A too.

Boosts memory

Saffron is popular as a memory enhancing spice. A study has indicated its potential as a natural remedy to prevent and reduce signs of Alzheimer s disease [3]. Saffron has shown the same effects as the drug donepezil, which is used for Alzheimer s patients, sans the side effects like vomiting. In Persian tradition, saffron is used as an anti-depressant and has been found to be effective for dementia too. In in-vitro studies, crocin, one of the compounds present in saffron, was found to reduce the effect of ethanol or alcohol induced memory loss [4]. The anti-amyloidogenic activity of saffron can help prevent age-related memory impairment. Here are some foods that help boost brain power.

Fights stomach ailments [5]

Saffron helps strengthen the stomach. Its analgesic properties provide relief from colic and gas troubles. It is also known to aid digestion and its anti-tympanite activity helps prevent the accumulation of gas in the intestinal tracts, thereby reducing the tension on the stomach. Saffron also reacts against spasms and provides relief from stomach cramps. It is very effective in reducing symptoms of dysentery and prevents liver inflammation.

Improves heart health

Saffron improves the level of good cholesterol in blood and lowers the bad cholesterol, thereby preventing heart diseases. The low level of cholesterol restrains the plaque from depositing in arteries, thus lowering risk of hypertension. To know more on how saffron helps prevent high blood pressure, click here. Crocetin, a compound present in saffron takes care of your cardiovascular health [6].

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References:

  1. Falsini, B., Piccardi, M., Minnella, A., Savastano, C., Capoluongo, E., Fadda, A., ... & Bisti, S. (2010). Influence of saffron supplementation on retinal flicker sensitivity in early age-related macular degeneration. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 51(12), 6118-6124.
  2. Chermahini, S. H., Majid, F. A. A., Sarmidi, M. R., Taghizadeh, E., & Salehnezhad, S. (2010). Impact of saffron as an anti-cancer and anti-tumor herb. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 4(11), 834-840.
  3. Akhondzadeh, S., Sabet, M. S., Harirchian, M. H., Togha, M., Cheraghmakani, H., Razeghi, S., ... & Vossoughi, A. (2010). A 22-week, multicenter, randomized, double-blind controlled trial of Crocus sativus in the treatment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer s disease. Psychopharmacology, 207(4), 637-643.
  4. Pitsikas, N., Zisopoulou, S., Tarantilis, P. A., Kanakis, C. D., Polissiou, M. G., & Sakellaridis, N. (2007). Effects of the active constituents of Crocus sativus L., crocins on recognition and spatial rats memory. Behavioural Brain Research, 183(2), 141-146.
  5. Moghaddasi, M. S. (2010). Saffron chemicals and medicine usage. J Med Plants Res, 4(6), 427-430.
  6. Shen, X. C., & Qian, Z. Y. (2006). Effects of crocetin on antioxidant enzymatic activities in cardiac hypertrophy induced by norepinephrine in rats. Die Pharmazie-An International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 61(4), 348-352.