In this article:
• Vitamins found in saffron
• Nutritional table
• Active ingredients and antioxidants
• The world’s most valuable spice; historical notes
Reading time approximately two and a half minutes.
Vitamins Found in Saffron
The three vitamins most commonly found in saffron are vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin A. While the % daily value of these vitamins is not particularly high, it’s great knowing that even your food seasoning is contributing to your overall health and well-being. Vitamin C is critical for the maintenance and development of all tissue in the body and really can’t be ignored, while vitamin B6 plays a significant role in turning food into usable energy, your fuel for the day. Vitamin A, similar to vitamin C is beneficial for certain body tissues, including skin & bone – primarily as an antioxidant.
Minerals Found in Saffron
Saffron is a mighty mineral cocktail of goodness. Not only does it have key vitamins and minerals, it also has low fats and no cholesterol. Again, you need to consume an awful lot of saffron to have a large effect from these minerals but it’s perfect for adding to your diet for several reasons; not the least of which being that saffron is tasty and guilt free. We’re all upside here. It should be noted that this information was researched from the U.S. Department of agriculture, and you can access this data for yourself here.
The Nutritional Table of Saffron
As you can see, a whole tablespoon of saffron weighs in at just 6 calories, but the effect on the taste and balance of your cooking fights way above its weight class.
This table, sourced from the USDA & the scientific paper “Saffron: a Repository of Medicinal Properties” takes a more in depth look at the actual chemical composition of Saffron. The seven vitamins and seven minerals that make up the spice complete the makeup of this health cocktail.
Active Ingredients and Antioxidants
The thing that’s got people excited about saffron, both chef and scientist alike, is its antioxidant properties. An antioxidant helps repair tissue damage in the body and fight free radicals. Fighting free radicals sounds like some kind of upside-down jungle adventure, but it’s a well-documented process. Free radicals accumulate in your body as you age. The ability to stave off this accumulation is a key element of an antioxidant.
Saffron has thee active antioxidants. Crocin, crocetin and safrenol. All of these work in concert to keep your biological machinery in working order.
Some studies have shown that there is also a less well understood relationship between saffron and the ability to hamper the growth of cancer cells. It’s by no means time to go on a saffron only diet – however the work is encouraging.
Yet in other studies saffron has proven to have beneficial values on renal and liver function, especially where diabetes is concerned. Again, it should be noted that this doesn’t mean you can buy large bags of saffron and cure your diabetes. The delivery method and dosage of saffron in medical trials can be highly variable. Sometimes a benefit could be direct, other times it appears to be Saffron’s lack of toxicity. There are a lot of things to consider & what we would suggest is recognizing saffron as an ally to any good health and cooking plan, but not the star athlete. The star athlete would be your personal physician, always.
The World’s Most Valuable Spice; Historical Notes
Most readers by now will know that saffron is not a cheap spice. The difficulty in cultivating and harvesting the flower greatly contributes to its market value. As such, mystique, desire and legend are often enshrouded in the petals of this bright little flower.
Historically saffron had its value rooted in it’s myriad of uses. In ancient times you might have seen it added to a bath water, consumed as an aphrodisiac or used as a color pigment on a cave painting. In more recent history it assumed a role in religion, and began its journey as a culinary superstar, and made its way into textiles production.
Today It’s most commonly known as a vibrant and healthy culinary spice, but who knows where new avenues of medical research in personal care and beauty products will take it in the future?