Saffron (Crocus sativus) is a beautiful crocus flower that has an impressive list of benefits on human health. Research suggests it can be an effective ally in supporting weight loss and preventing obesity through at least six distinct mechanisms. Saffron can
1. Act as an appetite suppressant, improves satiety, and helps alleviates food cravings
Based on recent scientific research and traditional uses of the plant, it appears that saffron can modulate appetite by at least two mechanisms: enhancing mood and supporting healthy digestion. Saffron is particularly useful for decreasing food cravings that arise from psychological stress and/or depression because saffron is a mood-enhancing herb. One double-blind randomized study involving overweight women showed that saffron helped to curb emotional eating and reduce snacking behaviour. Therefore, saffron seems to be an ideal support for people who gain weight due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It could help you knock back (or even prevent) those “winter pounds”!
2. Temporarily and reversibly inhibits the activity of pancreatic lipases
These are enzymes that are secreted by the pancreas into the small intestine to support digestion. They break down fats into smaller molecules that can be absorbed through the intestinal wall and then transported to the liver and body cells for conversion into energy or for storage. When the activity of pancreatic lipases is inhibited, dietary fats are not digested and therefore they aren’t absorbed across the intestinal wall. Instead, they are excreted with the stool.
3. Act as an insulin mimetic
which means it has the same physiological effect on cells as does insulin.This promotes healthy glucose metabolism and helps to reduce the risk of developing metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance can ensue.
4. Prolong the effects of insulin on body cells
Saffron helps to extend the duration of glucose uptake by the cell and therefore improves glucose metabolism, hinders fat synthesis, and prevents damage caused by high blood sugar levels.
5. Protect the health and function of the pancreas
Therefore helping to reduce the risk of metabolic disorders such as diabetes, improving pancreas sensitivity and response to nutrients such as glucose and amino acids in the blood, and increasing the synthesis of insulin.
6. Provide antioxidant protection
Thereby preventing free-radical induced impairment of cell glucose metabolism, which can lead to metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance and related conditions.
7. Act as an anti-inflammatory
Therefore reduce inflammation-induced adiposity (fat deposition) and suppresses the differentiation of fat cells.
Saffron also has a long history of use as a traditional medicine across the Mediterranean, Middle East, northern Africa, and southwestern Asia. It’s used as a stimulant, anti-depressant, mood and memory enhancer, aphrodisiac, cardiovascular tonic, anti-cancer medicine, blood cleanser, and female tonic herb. Clearly, you have the potential to gain a lot of benefit from taking this as a supplement!
To support your weight loss goals, take 800 mg of saffron approximately 30 minutes before meals for at least 8 to 10 weeks. You’ll notice more significant results if you combine this with a healthy, whole food diet and regular physical exercise.
Even though the claims that saffron can be used to support weight loss haven’t yet been approved by the Natural Health Products regulatory committee of Health Canada and more clinical studies are required for confirming the effectiveness of saffron as a general appetite suppressant, results from recent research is promising. All studies conducted thus far report no harmful side effects from taking saffron. It’s a unique weight loss supplement because it’s not a stimulant and it supports overall, long-term health of many organs.
Considering saffron has been a highly revered medicinal herb for centuries, there is little to lose (except perhaps a few pounds of unwanted weight!) from incorporating into your weight management strategy.