Punch Line: A cup of saffron-infused tea in the mornings can help fight early pregnancy symptoms of nausea and morning sickness.
Saffron - popularly known as Kesar in Hindi is also known as the king of spices. It serves as an important traditional herb in pregnancy and is often recommended as a health and therapeutic aid to pregnant women. However, there are lot of myth associated with the benefits of saffron during pregnancy. While traditional medicine suggests taking saffron only after the first trimester, others believe that saffron when taken in the right quantity has health benefits in all stages of pregnancy.
This article looks at how and when to consume saffron during pregnancy, as well as the various uses of saffron during pregnancy.
What is Saffron?
Saffron is a traditional spice and seasoning made from the dried stigmas of the flower Crocus sativus L – from the Lily flower family. Traditionally across cultures, there are multiple uses for saffron - from being used as a fabric dye, and perfume to being used in beauty and medicinal treatments.
A single flower yields only three strands of saffron! The production of saffron traditionally involves a great deal of human labour, making it a very popular and expensive spice.
Uses Of Saffron During Pregnancy
The benefits of saffron during pregnancy are as below:
1. Alleviates heartburn and acidity in pregnancy
Pregnancy & indigestion often go hand in hand. There are many reason for this - from hormonal changes in the first trimester to the baby pushing against the stomach in the last trimester. The anti-oxidant properties of saffron ensure that it strengthens the stomach, reduces gastric acidity, and improves digestion. Saffron helps to increase Nitric Oxide which stimulates the secretion of pepsin and basal enzymes, both of which are required for digestion and lowering the PH of the stomach, giving the much needed relief to pregnant women struggling with acid reflux.
2. Improves mood swings during pregnancy
Many women experience a rollercoaster of emotions during pregnancy, from anger to anxiety and depression. There are several causes of these mood changes, including physical and emotional fatigue, changes in sleep patterns and metabolism, as well as an increase in estrogen and progesterone levels.
Researchers have discovered that saffron and its active constituents possess similar antidepressant properties to those found in current antidepressant medications, but with fewer side effects. The compounds in saffron increase the serotonin (a mood-elevating neurotransmitter) levels in the brain and thus has antidepressant properties for pregnant women.
3. Prepares the cervix for labour
Several studies have shown that consuming saffron orally for full-term pregnant women may help ripen the cervix and prepare it for induction of labour, thereby reducing the need for an assisted delivery and cesarean section.
Traditionally, saffron during pregnancy is also used in many cultures to accelerate the process of labour. It is also recommended for a difficult labour and postpartum haemorrhage by Chinese medicine.
4. Reduces high blood pressure in pregnancy
During pregnancy, high blood pressure can have potentially fatal complications for both mother and child. Blood pressure in pregnant women can be significantly reduced by consuming saffron milk.
5. Helps with morning sickness
One of the earliest and most difficult symptoms of early pregnancy is morning sickness and nausea. In early pregnancy, drinking a saffron-infused warm tea can alleviate morning sickness symptoms and settle the stomach.
6. Promotes heart health
Saffron has anti-inflammatory properties and lowers cholesterol. It is believed that crocetin in saffron reduces the risk of heart attacks by lowering the bad cholesterol levels in the body. Furthermore, saffron contains antioxidants that provide additional heart protection. It also promotes a a rise in antibacterial and antiviral activity in your body.
7. Improves the quality of sleep
A traditional sleep ritual in many cultures includes drinking milk infused with saffron late at night. The reason for this is that saffron consumption has been associated with improvements in sleep quality in adults.
Drinking saffron milk every day can improve sleep quality for pregnant women who are suffering from sleep deprivation or struggle with bad quality of sleep.
8. Helps fight pregnancy cramps
The hormonal changes a mother-to-be undergoes during pregnancy cause her to experience cramps more frequently. Depending on the severity, they can range from mild and tolerable to severe and unbearable. Fortunately, these can be avoided. In addition to relieving pain, benefits of saffron during pregnancy include helping to soothe body muscles.
9. Relives sore gums
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can often cause would-be mothers to struggle with sore gums and bleeding gums. Saffron has a lot of medicinal properties and grinding the saffron threads and massaging them on the gums is known to relieve the pain and pressure of sore gums.
10. Promotes healthy hair and skin
Many pregnant women experience hair loss as a result of hormonal fluctuations. Traditionally, saffron and milk hair masks have been applied to prevent hair loss during pregnancy and stimulate hair growth as well. Similarly, hormone surges during pregnancy can result in pimples, darkened skin, and dullness. Benefits of saffron during pregnancy include helping reduce hormonal imbalance, pimples, and dark skin due to its antioxidant properties.
11. Manage gestational diabetes
In pregnancy, gestational diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar (glucose), which disappears after birth. Several studies have found that consuming saffron during pregnancy along with a regular routine can improve diabetic parameters.
Saffron is a natural source of antioxidants and drinking saffron milk every day benefits pregnancy, by improving blood glucose control.
How To Eat Saffron During Pregnancy?
Here are some of the best ways to add saffron to your pregnancy diet:
Best Time To Consume
Steep 2 to 3 threads of saffron in hot water for around 10 minutes.
Mornings on an empty stomach
Dissolve some saffron strand in a warm glass of milk.
Mornings or evenings
Adding one or two strands of saffron with cardamom to your oats
Adding a few strand of saffron to your savoury rice dishes
Lunch Or Dinners
Saffron in desserts
You can try adding a few strands of saffron in your favourite kheer or puddings
One serving at any time during the day
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does Saffron influence your baby's complexion and colour?
Those cultures that emphasize a fair complexion believe that saffron can lighten a baby's skin. Despite this, there is no scientific evidence that saffron consumption during pregnancy affects the baby's colour or complexion.
2. Can saffron be consumed with a glass of milk?
Pregnant women can take a little saffron added to milk without harm. Besides the health benefits of saffron during pregnancy, pregnant women benefit greatly from milk due to its many calcium-rich properties.
3. How much saffron should be consumed in a day?
Only use two to three strands of saffron in any preparation, as excessive amounts can harm your health.
4. Can saffron during pregnancy cause a miscarriage?
In studies, consuming more than 5 grams of saffron during pregnancy can cause uterine stimulation activity, 10 grams can cause abortion, and more than 20 grams can cause death. Consumption of saffron in minimal culinary quantities, however, is not toxic.
5. How do I select the best saffron during pregnancy?
It is important that when shopping for saffron; you choose saffron that is deep red and dark. Spices that have a darker colour are considered to be more aromatic than those with a lighter colour. The best way to have saffron flavour and health benefits is to use it fresh. Try not to use saffron powders as they are much less pungent and lose their antioxidant properties when used.
Undoubtedly, pregnancy and motherhood is a major life event in every woman’s life. A mother's body undergoes a lot of change during these nine months as the baby grows. A healthy pregnancy and delivery are dependent on the diet and lifestyle she follows during this stage.
There are a lot of amazing benefits of saffron during pregnancy. In small amounts, it is completely safe and very beneficial to your health. When taken in the right amount, it has no side effects. Consult your doctor if you have any questions about the uses of saffron during pregnancy.
Buy Kashmiri saffron online from Nutrilitius is packaged in an air-tight 1 gm see-through bottle that preserves its pure essence. A unique aroma and deep shades of crimson-red colour characterize it.