Is It Safe To Use Saffron During Pregnancy?
When you get the news that you’re pregnant, everything changes. Suddenly you have to think whether what you are eating or drinking is safe for baby. And you are bound to hear tons of controversial advice from friends and relatives.
Some of them might tell you that you must use saffron during the pregnancy to ensure that your baby has fair skin. Is this true and is saffron beneficial for you and your child?
Well, I’m here to answer these questions and tell everything you need to know if you decide to use saffron during your pregnancy.
Saffron, also known as kesara or keshar comes from a flower called Crocus Sativus. When you look the center of this flower, you’ll see three stigmas (also called threads). People collect these threads and dry them to make the spice.
It’s not as easy as it sounds. To make one pound of saffron (450g), you need 50,000- 75,000 flowers. And it requires a lot of labor because the threads can be separated only manually. That’s why saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world.
What color is saffron?
When you go shopping for saffron, you must look closely at the color of the spice to avoid buying a fake. Always look for threads that have deep dark red color with a slight yellow tinge at the end. Here’s a picture of what saffron looks like.
Avoid powdered saffron because it doesn’t have the same antioxidant properties as the fresh one. And don’t forget to check the expiration date on the package or whether it’s ISI approved.
What does saffron taste like?
It’s hard to tell exactly how saffron tastes because people don’t have a unanimous opinion about it. When talking about it, they use words such as honey-like, floral, pungent, and mushy to describe it.
But, in general, for some saffron has a slightly bitter taste, while others describe a semi- sweet or hay-like flavor.
My point is that if you want to know the taste of saffron, you’ll have to try it for yourself.
Benefits of saffron
It’s hard to believe, but saffron has some pretty amazing benefits for a pregnant woman. It’s full of important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A and B, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, to name a few.
But that’s far from it. Saffron also:
- Regulates blood pressure
- Helps with constipation, bloating and gas
- Relaxes the muscles and prevents cramps
- Lessens the symptoms of morning sickness
- Due to the iron content, regular consumption of saffron prevents anemia and boosts your hemoglobin levels.
- Reduces the triglyceride and cholesterol levels and keeps the heart healthy
- Soothes sore gums
- Helps you sleep better
- Eases allergies
- Promotes hair growth
- Increases the body heat, which in turn, makes the baby move around
Saffron for depression
Since saffron has an antidepressant and anti-inflammatory effect, people have been using it for depression and anxiety. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. Research even claims that saffron is as efficient as modern antidepressants.
But how can this help you during your pregnancy?
When you are pregnant, your hormone levels rise. This leads to mood swings which might leave you exhausted, unhappy and teary. In these days, a saffron drink might be all that takes to make you feel better because saffron elevates the mood.
It’s worth giving it a go if you ask me, especially when you take into account the other health benefits of saffron.
If anyone advises you to drink saffron milk to ensure that your baby will have a fair complexion, don’t listen to him. Skin color doesn’t have anything to do with milk or saffron. It’s all about genes.
Nevertheless, drinking saffron milk is an excellent idea. We already established that saffron has numerous health benefits for you, while milk is the perfect source of calcium. And during the pregnancy, you need around 1,000 to 1300 mg of calcium.
So, if you are looking for a beverage to replace coffee or tea, opt for saffron milk.
The best way to consume saffron
Since saffron is a spice, one of the best ways to consume it (besides drinking saffron milk), is to add it to your dish. There are several ways to use it as a kitchen ingredient. You can:
- crush and soak the threads to release the flavor
- toast the threads (when you’re making a paella)
- crumble the threads
When you cook with saffron, always err on the side of caution. Use small amounts and be careful not to overdose. You can also combine saffron with other spices and even use it when you make desserts.
How to make saffron water?
Sometimes, your recipe might require saffron in liquid form, so I’m going to walk you through how to prepare saffron water.
- a mortal and pestle
- a pinch of salt/sugar (optional)
- one teaspoon of saffron threads
- place the saffron threads and the salt/sugar in the mortal
- crush them with the mortal
- Add the powder to the hot water.
- leave to soak for 15 minutes.
How to use saffron during pregnancy?
Using saffron in moderation is crucial. This means no more that one or two strands in your milk and no more than 5 g a day. Large doses can have unpleasant side effects including:
- Uterus contraction, which can lead to a miscarriage or premature labor. In general, saffron is considered safe for use after the second trimester. But err on the side of caution and talk to your doctor how much to use.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Blood in the urine and the stool
There is no denying that saffron is an extraordinary spice that can help you during your pregnancy by elevating your mood, reducing your blood pressure and making morning sickness bearable. Just be careful how much you use, and you’ll be fine.
If you have any more questions about saffron during pregnancy, don’t be shy to ask. We are here to lend you a hand.