Why Should I Take Saffron?
Most of us know Saffron as a spice in delicious dishes like paella, or middle eastern sweets. However, a little known fact about saffron is that it also has major beneficial effects on cognitive function, mood and even appetite!
Saffron partially achieves this by blocking the reuptake of serotonin, which over time will increase total levels of serotonin throughout the brain. Since serotonin is involved with mood, enhancing its levels can have a very nice mood brightening effect. Furthermore, serotonin also controls many aspects of our appetite, and increasing serotonin levels helps dampen our appetite. This makes it a great supplement for both weight loss and mood!
What is Saffron?
Crocus sativus, also known as saffron, is one of the most highly praised spices in the world. It also happens to be one of the most expensive spices on the planet! For good reason too, growing saffron is an incredibly arduous process, as is collecting the stamens from the plant which is where the incredible flavors, aromas and bioactives are located. Within these stamens, we find a very unique collection of bioactives which don’t appear anywhere else in nature. These compounds are crocin, crocetin, picrocrocin and safranal.
Saffron is most widely used for its unique coloring properties. This is part of the reason why it is heavily featured in paella, in order to give the dish a distinctive color. The majority of this coloring activity is due to the fact that the crocins are carotenoids, and like many other carotenoids have a very unique red-orange color. Thus, it is no surprise that our extract has a bright red color to it, because it is standardized to 7.5% Crocins!
Let’s now dive deeper into the benefits of saffron!
Saffron Benefits & Uses
Promotes eye health
A Highly Praised Spice
Not only does saffron provide joy through its use in cooking, the coloring agents that make saffron such a highly praised spice, are also the same compounds that bring joy through neurochemical means! The crocins quite selectively block the reuptake of serotonin. This means that serotonin can stick around a little longer which then causes an overall elevation in brain serotonin levels. Serotonin is a very important neurotransmitter when it comes to mood, so elevating its levels can have a mood elevating effect. With saffron this certainly seems to be the case, and it has actually been widely used as a mood brightener for a very long time!
Serotonin also plays a major role in controlling our appetite. The higher brain serotonin levels get, the more dampened our appetite becomes too. Thus, it is no surprise that saffron is a very popular herb for helping to lower appetite. Paired with its mood elevating effect, it is easy to see why saffron is a popular weight loss herb. Perhaps this is also one reason why saffron is featured in various different dishes, the crocins that you are consuming in a meal could trick you into thinking you ate a bigger meal!
You’ve likely heard that carrots are good for your eyesight at some point in your life, and while this is not entirely true, the saying is based on the fact that carrots contain high levels of carotenoids. Not all carotenoids have an effect on eye health, but a lot actually do have quite a positive effect. The crocins are one class of carotenoids that do indeed seem to have beneficial effects on eye health. In fact, multiple clinical trials on saffron have indeed shown that saffron, through its crocins content, can help promote eye health!
With its effect on mood, appetite and eye health, it becomes clear that saffron is not only a highly praised spice, it is also a highly praised supplement!