Saffron is a spice from Saffron crocus flower. It is popularly known as ‘the king of spices’. The styles and stigmata of the flower are called saffron threads which are plucked from the flowers and dried. Saffron plant, crocus sativus, is a perennial plant originating from the Mediterranean region, flowering during autumn. It is grown in many parts of the world but in very small quantities. Main cultivator is Iran. Climates resembling North America, of hot and dry summer and cold winters with short periods of snow are suitable. Such peculiarity in climatic requirements makes it a delicately grown flower of high value.
One Kilogram of saffron is from approximately 110 to 170 thousands of flowers. Due to the highly labor intensive process involved in harvesting, saffron is one of the world’s most expensive spices.
Saffron provides lot of nutrients. In 100 gm. saffron 310 calories of energy, 1724 mg of potassium, 80 mg Vitamin C, 65.37 gm carbohydrates, 11.43 gm of protein, dietary fiber, fat, vitamin B6, folate, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, vitamin A, iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc and sodium are present. But the quantity of energy, vitamin and mineral contents are only of academic interest as you can not consume more than a few strands of saffron at a time.
There are various health benefits of this aromatic spice. It is useful in the treatment of asthma, cough, whooping cough, atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries), flatulence, depression, heartburn, pain, cancer and hemoptysis. Saffron can also cure menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome in women and infertility in men.
It is a spice, coloring agent and a flavoring agent in food preparations.
Saffron is consumed by many for deriving various health benefits provided by it. It is particularly helpful to pregnant women who encounter a number health issues during the entire period of pregnancy.
Why should pregnant mothers consume saffron?
Some of the predominant uses of saffron for pregnant mothers are:
Controls Blood Pressure
A pregnant woman experiences mood swings and unbalanced blood pressure. During pregnancy there is erratic movement of blood pressure leading to high as well as low blood pressure. Saffron balances the blood pressure at the desired level.
Pregnant women often suffer due to indigestion due to acidity. Saffron has the potential to form a membrane and protect from the gastrointestinal acidity which causes indigestion.
Pregnant women are prone to spasm, which is an involuntary contraction of the muscle or group of muscles. Spasms may involve skeletal muscle or smooth muscle. This problem may become worrisome at the time of delivery when muscles need to be as much flexible as possible. Saffron provides an excellent remedy by relaxing the muscles when consumed regularly after the initial months of pregnancy.
Prevents and cures anemia
Being rich in Iron, saffron consumption increases hemoglobin level in the blood and prevents anemia. Iron in saffron plays a vital part in purifying the blood and cures anemic conditions.
Cures morning sickness
Morning sickness is a common complaint from pregnant mothers as they experience both dizziness and nausea due to increased metabolic activity overnight, even as the fetus continue to grow. Consuming saffron with milk regularly in the morning provides relief from morning sickness.
Protects cardiovascular system
Since a pregnant woman has to consume more calories during pregnancy for healthy growth of the baby, the cardiovascular system has to bear additional load. Saffron provides crocetin, potassium and other anti-oxidants and protect from heart diseases. It lowers the cholesterol and triglyceride levels and prevent heart diseases.
It has a mild sedative property which induces sleep on consumption with milk before bed time.
This spice is also a blood purifier and prevents hormonal imbalances thereby preventing skin disorders like pimples and dark skin formations during pregnancy.
Allergy related congestion and fever is cured by consuming few strands of saffron with milk.
Application of saffron and sandal wood paste on the forehead brings down high temperature due to fever, avoiding medicines which cause side effects during pregnancy.
Saffron increases bone density due to calcium present in it, and pregnant women need more calcium to take care of the strength of the bones of the mother and the baby. As the calcium consumed by the mother is supplied to the baby also, the mother is bound to suffer due to calcium deficiency, which is compensated by saffron intake.
You can begin saffron consumption from second trimester preferably. Only a pinch with milk in the mornings and evenings.
Only consume saffron at the barest minimum level, say, only a few strands per day. Excess consumption can cause vomiting, hyper sensitivity or even miscarriage. We suggest that you consult your doctor or mid wife even at the notice of slightest negative symptoms. Some of the symptoms may be numbness, bleeding in the nose or eyelids, dizziness, imbalance and oozing blood in urine or stools. Saffron increases the heat of the body and consumption of large amounts causes unhealthy side effects.
That consumption of saffron can change the color of the baby is a myth. Color of the baby is based only on genetics and nothing else.