Saffron is a spice – the dried stigmas of the Crocus sativus plant. It is an expensive spice and can be lethal in high doses. Saffron has been used in folk medicine for centuries. It has been used to treat gastrointestinal problems, calm your nerves and to alleviate abdominal cramps. The yellow color is derived from the chemical crocetin. Saffron extracts are being used to evaluate treatments for tumors, ocular blood flow improvement, ischemic retinopathy and potentially to improve learning and memory.
So, what does this have to do with weight loss? How many of you have ever snacked between meals? Maybe once or twice – or, perhaps almost every day? Some people cannot stop themselves from snacking. Those extra snacks add up to weight gain or maintaining a weight higher than you desire. Food seems like it is addictive – you can’t stop eating. Well, you might be correct in your assessment. Compulsive eating is highly correlated to brain chemistry – similar to other chemical addictions.
Drugs have been used for decades to regulate appetite and achieve weight loss, but they all had significant health risks. One of the more disastrous examples is fen-phen which controlled appetite and resulted in weight loss along with pulmonary hypertension and heart valve disease.
Saffron has been shown in recent neurochemical studies to provoke a feeling of satiety – fullness – when used correctly. The neurochemistry of saffron has been known for centuries due to its mood enhancing results. Saffron has been shown in laboratory studies to raise the level of serotonin.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has been shown to control appetite and leave you with a feeling of being full. A team of French researchers has been studying the chemical processes of how and why saffron produces an increase in levels of serotonin. They found that saffron dampens the emotional aspect or need for eating between meals.
Compulsion is an anxiety-related disorder. It causes you to eat between meals – you need to eat is so strong that you can’t stop yourself. Typically, your need is usually translated into highly fatty, sweet and non-nutritious foods.
Serotonin is a mood regulator that has been studied concerning compulsive eating. Low levels of serotonin give your body cravings for food – to relieve that anxiety and soothe your mood.
Antidepressants can accomplish this result, but the side effects run the gamut from sexual dysfunction to suicide. Saffron has been shown to have no known side effects. Saffron has been studied using the gold standard of testing – double-blind incorporating placebos. The results substantiated the effectiveness of saffron to aid in weight loss.
Saffron does not cause you to lose massive amounts of weight, but it does alter your perceived need to eat between meals. It reduces your susceptibility eating just to eat – a psychological need to eat – not one brought one from a genuine physical need to eat. The frequency and amount of food consumed between meals during these tests were substantial compared to the placebo groups.
This is interesting. No matter how hard we try to keep snack food out of the house, somehow there always seems to be something that I can find