In his latest address to the nation on Mann ki Baat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to go “vocal for local” by buying saffron grown in Kashmir, which was accorded the GI tag this year in May.
“Kashmir saffron is mainly grown in areas such as Pulwama, Budgam and Kishtwar,” said PM Modi in his address. He went on to talk about how this ingredient is rich in medicinal properties, adding that it has a “strong aroma, rich colour and its threads are long and thick, which enhance its medicinal value.”
The superior taste of saffron is not unknown — from biryani to kheer, this ingredient can create wonders when added to our favourite dishes.
Wondering how saffron benefits health? Take a look:
Rich in antioxidants
To begin with, it contains a variety of plant compounds that act as antioxidants, according to Healthline. Antioxidants crocin and crocetin give saffron its red colour, and are known to protect the brain cells from progressive damage. While antioxidant safranal gives it the distinct taste and aroma, and is also known to boost memory and learning ability.
Helps in the treatment of many disorders
According to a study published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, saffron is effective in the treatment of a range of disorders like “coronary artery diseases, hypertension, stomach disorders…and learning and memory impairments”. It has beneficial effects on neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer and Parkinson’s disease. “According to human and animal studies, saffron and its constituents have been shown to be effective in the treatment of mild to moderate depression which may be because of an interaction with the serotonin and noradrenaline system,” the study further mentions.
Helps with PMS symptoms
Studies have indicated that saffron can be effective in treating premenstrual (PMS) symptoms like irritability, headaches and cravings. In a study published in the journal Phytomedicine, 35 women with a normal sense of smell were exposed to saffron odour for 20 minutes. It was found that the odour exerts “some effects in the treatment of PMS, dysmenorrhea and irregular menstruation.”
Reduces appetite, aiding weight loss
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Research has shown that saffron helps prevent snacking, curbing your appetite, while reducing body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and total fat mass.
Reduces hyperpigmentation of the skin
According to a study published in the Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, saffron’s active compounds like crocin decrease melanin, by suppressing the tyrosinase, an enzyme essential for melanin production.
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