A number of things, that’s why. There are 8.3 billion strands in saffron (or saffron oil), and the diameter of each strand could be between 60 and 90 nanometers (nm=billionths of a meter).
Each saffron strand is made of two proteins. One is the ‘semiconductor’ protein, which, like all proteins in nature, is made of two double bonds. While they are the exact opposite, they do have some similarity.
The second protein (triterpenoids with the same structure) is the main ingredient in saffron oils, used to create the texture and colour. The proteins are separated into smaller and smaller parts within the oil. In fact, a protein is a collection of many ‘protein bonds’ that can be arranged in the exact same way.
Saffron also has a high mineral content. It’s the equivalent of around 25% calcium, 27% magnesium, 22% potassium, 12% copper, 17% iron and 10% manganese.
According to the International Food Information Council (IFIC), saffron has a higher concentration of potassium (40%) than lemons or cherries. This means that when the leaves are cut and eaten raw, the vitamin content of the oil can benefit you. The leaf-on, green leaves of the saffron plant are rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, C, E and K, and are known to be particularly beneficial to the digestive tract.
Some people feel that consuming saffron oil does not have beneficial effects in the presence of certain foods. For example garlic has antimicrobial benefits and saffron has anti-inflammatories. Others are unconvinced and suggest that eating the fruit can make you feel ill; there are no real scientific studies to show that either way.
The oil of saffron is also rich in antioxidants, the same compounds that protect you from the adverse effects of oxidised fats in the body. You can find the antioxidant content, based on the amount of each ingredient, in the following table:
When you eat saffron leaves, you are also exposing yourself to other substances. When these compounds form an oily layer on your skin and are absorbed into your bloodstream, it can result in an inflammatory response. Symptoms include: arthralgias, headaches, muscle pain, an enlarged lymph node (this is the location of the ‘skin rash’, and is actually a common occurrence due to an allergic
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