Winter starts with solstice, after the longest and darkest night of the year. This night has a special place in many cultures such as Persian where people gather together and stay up at night till the sun is born again next morning!
They light candle, read poem and eat pomegranate and nuts! This year the winter solstice has double importance due to the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. They are in closest distance since 1623 and will come only this close again in 2040. They appear as the Christmas Star in the sky.
With coming of the winter, the cold intensifies, snow falls and ice forms everywhere. This low temperature has many effects on human body and mind that is why many diseases and health issues are more common in winter. The 2020 winter has double risk because CORONA virus is surging and mutating all over the world and you need double protection. However, there are small things you can do at your own home to survive the cold winter healthfully and fight viruses such as COVID-19 successfully.
In this article, we will review saffron benefits in cold winter so this year you can protect yourself from the cold and viruses and truly enjoy the snow.
According to Persian traditional medicine, saffron has a hot and dry nature so consuming it, will increase your metabolism and temperature which is good for winter. A high metabolism burns fat resources inside your body to generate heat. It is a steady process where you are protected against the cold outside with a layer of heat inside.
This is also useful to prevent weight gain which is very common in the winter because appetite is usually increased to encourage you to eat more food for energy generation. The foods are often fatty and energy dense. Outdoor activities and exercises are also decreased due to cold temperature. This year the social distancing and restrictions are also added to the excuses. Together these factors are enough to make you put on some pounds. With saffron making you warmer naturally and suppressing your appetite, you don’t have to eat more to stay warm. The energy and heat is provided from your stored fat making you even lose weight!
Saffron contains potent anti-oxidants such as Safranal, Crocin, Crocetin and Picrocrocin that are free radical scavengers. By donating one electron to free radicals, they become stable and non-reactive so a big portion of your immune system is freed from creating inflammation to clear free radicals.
The Safranal compound is a known anti-bacterial agent that can cleanse your body of harmful bacteria so your good bacteria can thrive and create essential chemicals that are needed for your immune system.
Crocin and Picrocrocin have shown anti-viral activities in a scientific research where HIV and HSV were affected by them. This is promising and hopeful that they can affect COVID-19 too but more research is needed.
Saffron also has many vitamins and minerals that are essential for a well-performing immune system. Majority of your immune system is located in the gut and the more essential nutrients are provided and absorbed through the gut, the better immune system performs.
The Carotenoids and Flavonoids of saffron also help your lung to do its job more easily because cleaning oxidative agents also clears the airways and makes breathing much easier which is important with coughing and sneezing in the winter. In case of having phlegm, saffron acts like a drying agent and reduces the excess volume.
Dryness is a common problem in winter due to cold temperatures. Saffron can increase blood flow to your skin which carries with it the hydration and nutrients as well. The result is a soft and well hydrated skin all over your face and body.
Saffron is most effective on the brain and mind because it influences neurotransmitter production. Serotonin, Dopamine and Norepinephrine must be in proper balance in order to have stable mood and emotions but cold temperatures in winter can disturb this balance so feelings of sadness are common. Saffron can help increase their production and induce feeling of happiness and hope.
The neurotransmitters are created in the gut and as mentioned above, saffron can heal and relax the gut thus neurotransmitter creation is restored so your brain function is more efficient.
The anti-oxidation effect of saffron also clears inflammation which is believed to be the cause of all mental issues
such as depression and anxiety. The inflammation in the brain will disturb normal process of thinking and feeling so negative thoughts and dark emotions are intensified usually in the cold months of the year. But saffron can help eliminate the excess inflammation so clarity is restored in your thoughts and feelings.
Saffron is a complex spice with more than 150 chemicals that are highly potent in a tiny amount. They can stimulate your metabolism which results in higher temperature throughout your body. This is most useful in cold winter when temperatures can drop really low and snow can cover the ground. It also helps your immune system by taking care of free radicals and inflammation. Breathing the cold air becomes much easier with saffron. It can also prevent weight gain often associated with cold months of the year.
The main compounds Safranal, Crocin, Crocetin and Picrocrocin are also responsible for the exotic aroma, beautiful color and distinct taste of saffron accordingly which can make your winter meals a delight. They are 70% bio-available.
In other words, Saffron is a magic of nature and in right dosing, it can warm you up in the cold winter. It can bring hope to your heart and project light to your sad thoughts. It can illuminate your cold winter.
A Pinch of saffron in your herbal tea can sooth your digestive tract while in a hearty soup, it can keep you warm for a longer time. A pinch of saffron in your dessert can bring back the smile on your face. A pinch of saffron is a pinch of magic in the cold winter infected by a global pandemic.