Saffron: The Magic Spice You Need To Be Eating More Of

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

One of the most highly sought after and expensive spices in the world is saffron. This rare ingredient is derived from the “stigma,” or dried threads, of the crocus sativus flower. The benefits of saffron go beyond its pleasant taste; it contains many beneficial nutrients, which will be discussed in more detail below.

As mentioned above, saffron is made out of the pollen-covered stigma of the crocus sativus flower, which grows throughout the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, and India. Of course, one flower only contains three stigmas, so it takes quite a lot of flowers to produce a usable amount of the spice. It takes nearly 150 flowers to yield a mere 1 gram of saffron, and large quantities of saffron have been known to sell for over $1,000 per pound.

Saffron has traditionally been used as an ingredient in many dishes of the aforementioned regions, such as paella in Spain, risotto in Italy, and many types of dishes in Indian cuisine. It adds a golden yellow color to food, somewhat similar to turmeric. Saffron’s delicate taste and aroma conceal a nice assortment of beneficial compounds.

What Are the Health Benefits of Saffron? For thousands of years, saffron was used as a traditional folk medicine in places like Greece. Modern science has deconstructed the nutrients in saffron and revealed why ancient peoples were attracted to the health properties of this rare and highly sought spice.

 

1. Highly beneficial essential oils

Saffron contains highly beneficial essential oils, such as linalool, phenethenol, limonine, and many more which you’ve probably never heard of. The important thing to know is that they’re difficult to find, and they’re very good for you. One essential oil that stands out is called safranal. This oil is responsible for giving saffron its distinct taste.

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