Saffron is a spice rich in carotenoids and vitamins, useful for mood disorders, such as sedative and antispasmodic. The saffron stigmas contain over 150 volatile aromatic substances, which make up its essential oil. It is also one of the richest foods in carotenoids which give the dishes a typical golden-yellow color, and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine) and B2 (riboflavin). In addition to making the most varied dishes tasty and flavorful, saffron powder is a mine of precious substances for the body: being saffron one of the most powerful antioxidants, it counteracts free radicals, responsible for the acceleration of cellular aging. In addition, this spice promotes digestive functions, stimulates the digestive system, increasing the secretion of bile and gastric juices. Saffron is rich in mineral salts, especially potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, fundamental substances in the transmission of impulses and voluntary and involuntary muscle contraction (such as the heartbeat, for example). It is very rich in vitamins, in particular C and folate which give this spice many important properties; Vitamin C, which in itself has antioxidant properties, stimulates the immune system and promotes the absorption of iron, and folate, which, once digested and converted into folic acid, are essential for the growth and reproduction of system cells nervous. One of the most interesting research areas that investigate the properties of saffron is that related to mood disorders, especially depression. Saffron has shown an antidepressant activity, linked to the content of crocin and is effective in treating the symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome.
The saffron powder however is very caloric, in fact, every 100 gr. we have a yield of about 310 calories. As with all foods, be careful not to overdo it as it becomes toxic to the body at high doses. The ideal dose that should never be exceeded is 1.5 grams per day. Saffron is also excellent for those people who sleep little. It improves the ability to memorize and learn thanks to the other concentration of Potassium and phosphorus and relieves intestinal spasms and coughs. Use in the kitchen The use of saffron in the kitchen dates back to the times of the ancient Egyptians: they used it to flavor foods and perfume dishes. Today the use of saffron in the kitchen ranges from appetizers to desserts, although its main use is in dishes such as risotto, based on fish and white meats. Saffron is also indicated as a condiment for vegetables with a delicate flavor such as zucchini and can be used in herbal teas to promote sleep and digestion. It is important to add saffron towards the end of cooking, to prevent excessively high temperatures from altering its organoleptic characteristics. The best combinations are however with rice, crustaceans, stewed meats and delicate sauces, which release and enhance the characteristics of the spice.