Saffron has long been used for its healing and health-boosting properties, dating back for centuries. The Arab population support weight-loss effortswere the first to recognize the healing power of this natural spice, primarily using it to boost a more positive mood. It’s also been shown to fight stress, promote satiety, and support weight-loss efforts. Since it helps control appetite, it reduces compulsive eating.
What is Saffron?
Saffron originates from a flower known as crocus sativus. Since only specific parts of the flower contain saffron, a lot of flowers are needed in order to extract little saffron. This is why it’s so expensive if you’re familiar with it in terms of its culinary use. To be this into perspective, you need around 75,000 flowers in order to produce one pound of saffron.
The Key Benefits of Saffron
Saffron and its effects on weight-loss are a fairly new phenomenon. With that being said, this spice has been used for many years so this added benefit is not surprising.
There’s also a key link between weight gain and depression. Since saffron is believed to target symptoms of depression, it also helps manage mental factors that contribute to overeating and weight gain. There have been reports indicating that its effect on one’s mindset may help control food intake.
• Digestion: Saffron stimulates the digestive tract and is quickly absorbed, increasing the secretion of bile and gastric juices which support digestion.
• Detoxifying Properties: Within Chinese medicine, saffron is used a blood cleanser. It’s known to improve circulation, lower cholesterol levels, and eliminate toxins.
• Boosts Serotonin Levels: Saffron helps increase levels of serotonin. It’s been found that low levels of serotonin are the main reason behind emotional eating and mindless snacking between meals. Since saffron helps balance more normal serotonin levels, it can reduce your appetite and improve mood while dieting.
• Aids in PMS: Premenstrual syndrome creates many symptoms which saffron has shown to reduce in multiple studies. Once individuals take saffron, it has been shown to improve symptoms of PMS after two menstrual periods. Also, when combining saffron, celery seed, and anise, research has shown that this combination can reduce menstrual pain.
• Alzheimer’s Disease: Some research has shown that taking saffron by mouth for 22 weeks could potentially improve Alzheimer’s symptoms while taking the prescription drug donepezil.
How Exactly Does Saffron Aid in Weight-Loss?
To take a closer look at how saffron influences weight-loss, we’ll focus on the impact of increasing serotonin levels. When it comes to weight-loss, this is one of the most important hormones as it directly influences how you feel and your attitude towards losing weight and your attitude in general.
In relation to serotonin levels, if controlled correctly, you can feel much fuller than you actually are. This is the key driving force behind saffron, as it helps reduce calorie intake and helps you stay more motivated and positive. Cravings tend to strongly impact weight gain and saffron has been shown to reduce overall cravings, allowing users to lose weight at a normal, healthy rate.
Plenty of studies have been conducted using this ingredient, with any being highly detailed and specific. Within one study, those who took a saffron extract reduced general snacking by an average of 55 percent. In terms of appetite, 84 percent reported that they felt less hungry between meals and snacked less throughout the day. Also, 78 percent of people did not snack on sugary foods as often, which highly contributes to successful weight-loss.
Are There Side Effects?
Saffron is a natural supplement, however, this does not mean that individuals will not experience any adverse effects. Unfortunately, it is one of the few natural supplements available that is known to cause some negative side effects. Although side effects can occur, most individuals do not experience any adverse effects and simply enjoy the benefits.
For those who have reported side effects, dizziness is the most common. Some have also experienced stronger symptoms of asthma, a cough, dry skin, and heartburn. Remember, these effects are rare, however, they are possible.
The key is taking safe doses as recommended by the manufacturer or your doctor. When taking large doses, saffron is possibly unsafe. In extreme cases when very high doses were taken, it could potentially cause poisoning which leads to vomiting, yellow appearance within your skin and eyes, numbness, and a bleeding nose.
There are a few conditions where saffron should be avoided. Bipolar, for instance, is when individuals experience states of mania and severe depression. Since saffron influences mood, it could trigger impulsive behavior in a state of mania.
If you have allergies relating to lolium, olea (including olives), or salsola plant species, do not take saffron. Since saffron can lower blood pressure and affect heartbeat, those who suffer from low blood pressure or heart conditions should avoid using.
If taking saffron for depression, 30 mg daily, administered in two doses is recommended. For those taking saffron for PMS purposes, please take 15 mg twice daily as well. Always speak with your doctor depending on the condition you’re trying to treat or the benefit you’d like to achieve.
This is a natural supplement which must be followed in terms of the recommended dosage guidelines. If users take up to 20 grams, this dose can actually be fatal. In order to avoid poisoning or toxicity, you should not exceed five grams daily.