Saffron during pregnancy: Is it safe?
In India, saffron is known as an exotic spice that has been used for ages to enhance the aesthetics and aromas of various sweet and savoury dishes. It is derived from the filaments of the flowers that grow on the autumn crocus plant. Around 75,000 saffron blossoms are used to produce a single pound of saffron. Largely cultivated and harvested by hand, saffron is an expensive spice all over the world. In traditional medicine, this spice is used to treat mild depression, cardiovascular ailments and age-related macular degeneration. Women in India also consume saffron during pregnancy by adding it to milk, as it is considered beneficial. However, this spice should be consumed only in small amounts. If you are wondering why, then this article is just right for you, as it explores the benefits of saffron, the myths associated with it and why moderation is necessary during pregnancy.
Saffron benefits during pregnancy
Saffron during pregnancy is safe only if taken as per recommended doses (not more than 5 grams). It is generally advisable to take saffron milk during pregnancy only when you enter the fifth month. Saffron can offer several benefits during pregnancy since its known to have medicinal properties. Here are a few.
- Fights mood swings: Saffron contains chemicals that alter the mood and make you more positive.
- Aids digestion: Bloating, gas, and constipation, are common during pregnancy. But, taking 1 or 2 strands of saffron can aid in optimal digestion.
- Maintains normal blood pressure: This spice helps to reduce high blood pressure during pregnancy. Potassium and crocetin present in saffron play a major role in this.
- Reduces the symptoms of morning sickness: Nausea and dizziness can be reduced if you take saffron-infused tea during pregnancy.
- Protection against heart diseases: Crocetin, potassium, and antioxidants, present in saffron help in reducing triglycerides and cholesterol levels during pregnancy.
- Fights cancer: The antioxidant effects of saffron discourage the growth of tumours in the body.
- Other benefits: Saffron provides muscle relaxation, eases body pain, and fights insomnia during pregnancy.
What are the myths associated with saffron?
Traditionally, it is believed that consuming saffron milk can help women give birth to fair babies. This is a myth though, as complexion is dependent on the genes of the parents and the melanin present in the skin of the baby. Saffron has no effect on skin tone.
Also, though saffron is believed to fight depression, anxiety and other disorders mentioned above, concrete data to back these claims is missing.
Saffron is a unique spice that should be purchased from an authentic source to avoid any adulteration or contamination. Always look for ISI and government labels to ensure authenticity. And it is also advisable to ask your doctor whether to use saffron on a daily basis or not, if you are pregnant or lactating. Remember that moderation is the key when it comes to consuming saffron with milk or adding it to desserts or rice dishes.