Spice up Your Life – The Health Benefits of Saffron

Saffron has to be one of my most favorite spices to add to my dishes. I love it’s amazing golden-red color and the amazing way this pretty spice tastes. As I’m sure you have noticed, saffron can be a bit expensive! This is because it literally takes 80,000 crocus flowers and a quarter of a million dried stigmas to produce one pound of saffron! Good thing it is sold in little containers and in smaller quantities. Saffron is great to add to a variety of dishes including chicken, polenta, rice, soups, and curries. It also pairs well with the taste of cloves, nutmeg, cumin, and mint. Saffron contains properties that have been shown to help with depression, anxiety, and fatigue. It has also been shown to aid in relieving the symptoms associated with PMS including menstrual cramps. Saffron contains a powerful antioxidant called crocin and studies have shown that this can have a positive effect on boosting fertility in men. The higher the amount of crocin the darker the color of the saffron (and the better the quality).

FAST FACT: Saffron only works in liquids and it should be infused in warm water (or milk) before added to a recipe.

References: Healing Spices by Bharat B. Aggarwal. Sterling Publishing Co, 2011. New York, NY.