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Is saffron tea good for you?

One of the most expensive spices largely cultivated in India, saffron or kesar, is a prized ingredient in many Indian households. Known for its dark red colour and sweet earthy flavour, it can make any dish look and taste exotic.

Apart from its natural colouring agent properties, it is extremely healthy as well. For centuries, it has been used as a complementary medicine for a number of ailments. A great way to consume saffron is by making a tea from it.

In a similar vein, nutritionist Lovneet Batra took to Instagram to share the various reasons why one should include saffron tea in their diet. “In the world of nutrition, there is a hidden gem that has been cherished for centuries — saffron tea. Let me take you on a journey through the marvellous benefits of this golden elixir,” she captioned the post.

Here are five reasons to include saffron tea in your diet, according to the expert:

*High in antioxidants: Saffron is high in antioxidants, which may help kill cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

*Improves cognitive health: Saffron contains two chemicals, crocin and crocetin, which according to studies may help learning and memory function.

*Strengthens immunity: Saffron is one of the richest sources of riboflavin, a B vitamin that helps you maintain a healthy immune system. Saffron tea contains safranal, an antioxidant that may increase antibacterial and antiviral activity in your body.

*Prevents fungal infections: Saffron is rich in both antioxidants and flavonoids. Antioxidants help protect the body from harmful substances. Flavonoids are chemicals found in plants that help the plant protect itself from fungus and disease.

*Manages PMS symptoms: Saffron leads to a decrease in the severity of PMS symptoms and probably a better occupational and social performance of the individual.

ALSO READ | Myth or fact: Saffron is a natural antidepressant

Check out her post below:

Here’s how you can make saffron tea at home, courtesy Priyanka Rohatgi, chief nutritionist, Apollo Hospitals. 

Ingredients

*Saffron threads: You’ll need a small amount of saffron threads. Usually, a pinch or about 10-15 threads is sufficient for a cup of tea.*Hot water: You’ll need hot, but not boiling, water. Water just below boiling temperature (around 195-205°F or 90-96°C) is ideal.*Sweetener (optional): Many people like to add honey, sugar, or another sweetener to enhance the flavour of saffron tea.*Spices (optional): Some recipes may call for additional spices like cardamom or cinnamon for added complexity and flavour.

Method

1. Heat the water to the desired temperature, just below boiling. You can use a kettle or heat it on the stove.

2. Place a pinch of saffron threads (usually 10-15) in a small bowl or cup. Add a couple of tablespoons of hot water to the saffron and let it steep for about 5-10 minutes. This step is called blooming and helps release the flavour, aroma, and colour of the saffron.

3. After the saffron has bloomed, pour it along with the saffron threads into your teapot or cup.

4. If you like your tea sweet, add honey, sugar, or another sweetener to taste. You can also add spices like cardamom or cinnamon at this stage if you want a more complex flavour profile.

5. Pour the hot water over the saffron and any added ingredients. Stir to ensure even distribution.

6. Allow the tea to steep for about 5-10 minutes, or longer if you prefer a stronger saffron flavor.

7. Once the tea has steeped to your liking, strain it into cups or mugs, and enjoy your saffron tea. You can garnish it with a few saffron threads for an elegant touch.

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However, Rohatgi noted that people with allergic reactions to saffron, pregnant and nursing women, infants, and children, or those with certain medical conditions such as bipolar disorder, low blood pressure, or bleeding disorders, should exercise caution while consuming saffron tea.

“Excessive consumption of saffron can be harmful. It’s important to use saffron in moderation. Large amounts of saffron can lead to adverse effects, including digestive problems, nausea, dizziness, and potentially even poisoning,” she concluded.

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