Saffron is an exotic spice well known for its rich flavor and color. It is used in various cuisines and also has many medicinal properties. It is widely believed that drinking saffron milk during pregnancy helps to deliver a child with fair skin. Even though this is nothing but a myth, saffron milk during pregnancy definitely has many health benefits.
So lets know more about this king of spices and understand how it benefits during pregnancy and otherwise as well.
What Is Saffron?
Saffron is the dried style and stigma of a flower “Saffron crocus”. This is one of the top expensive spices in the world. From a single flower, you will get only three saffron threads. According to sources, 70,000 crocus flowers are needed for each 1 pound (0.45 kg) of saffron product.
This instantly makes it one of the most valuable, expensive spices. It is also a very long process to cultivate and harvest it, requiring many, many hours of hard work.
Saffron is mainly grown in the Mediterranean regions, as well as the Middle East. When it comes to India, only Jammu and Kashmir cultivates this exotic spice. In India, it has many names, such as zaffran, kumkumapoovu, kesar, and koung.
Is It Safe To Drink Saffron Milk During Pregnancy?
Drinking saffron milk during pregnancy is generally safe and beneficial if you regulate your intake. However, excessive intake of saffron can bring about many serious complications and even result in miscarriage.
Therefore, only use a permitted quantity saffron threads per day while preparing saffron milk. For example, if you use one strand or thread of saffron per glass of milk, it causes no harm. Even then, it is recommended not to take saffron milk during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Saffron milk is well known for its antioxidant properties and carries some impressive health benefits. Therefore, if you use the right amount of saffron to make saffron milk, you can reap all the benefits of saffron milk from the second trimester of pregnancy.
How Much Saffron Is Safe During Pregnancy?
1 to 2 saffron threads per day is safe during pregnancy. The safe quantity of saffron in milk during pregnancy depends on the number of strands used to prepare the milk. If you are using one thread you can have two glasses of saffron milk per day. On the other hand, if you use two threads, it is safe to drink one glass of saffron milk per day during pregnancy.
Benefits Of Drinking Saffron Milk During Pregnancy
Saffron milk carries both the benefits of milk and saffron. As we all know, milk is a great source of proteins and calcium which are important for the healthy progression of pregnancy and fetal development. Here are the top benefits of saffron milk in pregnancy
1. Saffron milk during pregnancy enhances digestion
During pregnancy, the digestive system becomes weak bringing about many digestive issues like constipation, acidity and acid reflux. Regular intake of saffron milk during pregnancy helps to cleanse the digestive tract and boost metabolism.
This helps to improve digestion and provides relief from digestive problems like constipation, bloating, and heartburn during pregnancy.
2. Helps to elevate mood
Many expecting mothers experience mood swings during pregnancy. This could be ranging from mild to severe. The anti-depressant properties of saffron help to alleviate mood swings during pregnancy.
Milk also has that soothing effect. Therefore, regular consumption of saffron milk during pregnancy can effectively deal with mood swings.
3. Helps to ease muscle cramps
During pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimesters mothers experience severe muscle cramps in the leg and abdomen. As a woman’s body is pushing its limits to accommodate the growing child, it’s quite natural to experience severe pain in joints, abdomen, back, and legs.
According to studies, saffron has antispasmodic (property that reduces muscle spasms) and antinociceptive properties (property that inhibits the pain). Therefore, regular intake of saffron milk during pregnancy is one of the natural ways to reduce excessive muscle contractions in the legs and the abdomen and to ease joint pains.
4. Might facilitate labor
According to sources, saffron can enhance cervical ripening towards the end of pregnancy. Saffron milk can influence uterine contractions by stimulating the muscles. This kick starts labor.
Because of this reason, saffron milk is not recommended to be consumed during the early days of pregnancy. However, when you are full term and waiting for labor, saffron milk can be very helpful.
5. Helps to prevent allergies and infections
During pregnancy, women are susceptible to allergies and common infections like cough, cold, and fever. This is because immunity weakens during pregnancy. Many expecting mothers experience stuffy nose issues.
It is found that drinking saffron milk every day during pregnancy reduces the bouts of coughs, colds, and congestion, and allergies due to change in weather. Applying sandalwood and saffron paste to the forehead helps to bring down a fever.
6. Saffron milk during pregnancy helps to alleviate insomnia
Insomnia or difficulty sleeping is an issue many women face during pregnancy. There is a range of reasons for this condition. However, drinking saffron milk during pregnancy might help to alleviate this issue to an extent.
The sedative and hypnotic effects of saffron help to relax and sleep well. Warm milk also has a similar property. Therefore, have a glass of warm saffron milk before going to bed to have a good night’s sleep and to wake up with some energy in the morning.
7. Prevents hypertension
High blood pressure is a common complication during pregnancy. Several factors like increased blood volume contribute to this condition. Uncontrolled blood pressure during pregnancy can lead to serious complications that could put the life of the mother and child at stake.
According to studies, minerals like potassium and some constituents in saffron like Crocin and safranal help to lower blood pressure. Thus, saffron milk helps to prevent pregnancy-induced hypertension.
8. Prevents anemia
Pregnant women need more iron than others, but this need is often not met by the pregnant woman’s diet. This is why many women suffer from iron-deficient anemia during pregnancy. This will impede the growth and development of the baby and is bad for your health.
Regular consumption of saffron as per the recommended amount helps circumvent this problem. Saffron is rich in iron content and is sufficient to keep your body’s iron levels at a healthy level. It also boosts your hemoglobin levels, which is healthy for you and your baby.
9. Saffron helps to reduce pregnancy-linked hair fall and skin issues
Hormonal fluctuation during pregnancy can adversely affect hair health and may result in severe hair fall. Saffron has incredible iron content. Therefore, drinking saffron milk helps to nourish the hair from inside and bring down pregnancy-induced hair fall.
Similarly, hormonal changes can affect the beauty of the skin as well. Acne and pigmentation are common skin issues during pregnancy. Drinking saffron milk during pregnancy regularly is very effective in solving these issues and improving skin tone.
10. Good for heart
Pregnancy can take a toll on the heart. The blood volume increases up to 50% during pregnancy and the heart has to work more to pump those extra blood. Saffron milk helps to regulate cholesterol levels and triglycerides. Also, potassium and Crocin in saffron strengthens the blood vessels and enhance heart health.
How To Prepare Saffron Milk For Pregnant Ladies
There is more than one way to prepare saffron milk for pregnancy. You can make saffron milk by just steeping two or a maximum of three strands of saffron in a cup of milk for around 7 to ten minutes. Make sure you stir it frequently while steeping.
The aim is the milk gets saturated with the color and flavor of saffron. You can switch off the stove once the color of the milk becomes yellowish and the flavor fully gets into the milk. If you want you can add sugar but better avoid that mart to make it healthier.
To get a nutty flavor, you can also add crushed almonds and pistachios while boiling. Adding nut will take the nutritional value of this drink to the next level. Adding one crushed cardamom while boiling also enhances the flavor of saffron milk.
How Much Saffron Milk Can A Pregnant Woman Have (Covering Trimesters)
From which month use saffron in pregnancy is a common doubt. Well, if you use one to two strands of saffron to make the saffron milk, you can drink two glasses of saffron milk per day – one in the morning and one in the evening. However, you have to abstain from drinking saffron milk during the first trimester due to the increased risk of miscarriage.
Also, towards the end of pregnancy, if you want, you can increase the quantity of saffron milk, as it helps with the ripening of the cervix. Usually expecting women should start drinking saffron milk once they start feeling the baby’s movements, which is around the fifth month of the pregnancy.
What Is The Right Time To Drink Saffron Milk?
The right time to start drinking saffron milk during pregnancy is from the second trimester. This is because this phase of pregnancy is considered stable as by then all the discomforts and aversions to food will be gone.
More precisely, expecting women can consume saffron milk once they are able to detect the movement of the child (which happens around the fifth month of gestation). Depending on the strands you used for making saffron milk, it is safe to drink one glass of saffron milk in the morning and evening during pregnancy.
Side Effects Of Saffron Milk During Pregnancy
According to the studies, excessive intake of saffron can trigger uterine contractions. This could bring about bleeding and premature labor. It can also bring about a condition called thrombocytopenia, in which blood platelet count falls.
When the platelet count falls, the ability of the blood to clot also decreases. This can lead to bleeding/ hemorrhage, which is not favorable especially during pregnancy.
Another study conducted among the female farmers working in the saffron field shows that exposure to a large quantity of saffron increases the risk of miscarriage as it stimulates the uterus.
Some expecting women are found to be allergic to saffron. In that case, it is found that excessive intake of saffron milk leads to headaches, dry mouth, and diarrhea. Vomiting is another annoying side effect of excessive intake of saffron milk
Saffron has the property of increasing body temperature. Any food that increases the body temperature can increase the chances of miscarriage. Therefore, excessive intake of saffron milk during the first trimester can potentially increase the risk of abortion.
What Are The Best Saffron Brands During Pregnancy?
When it comes to which brand saffron is best for pregnancy, we always recommend choosing from the top brands that sell top-quality saffron. You must make sure it is ISO certified and the saffron is unadulterated.
Here are some tips to ensure the quality of the saffron:
- Never buy loosely available saffron from the market
- Top-quality saffron appears deep-dark red in color. The deeper the color, the more aromatic it will be. Also, dark red saffron is more beneficial health-wise
- Make sure there are no white or yellow threads in the product. Threads other than red-colored ones indicate the saffron is not pure. Those that appear as white and yellow threads are the other part of the saffron flower (other than stamen and stigma)
- Even though the saffron is available in powdered and thread form, it is always wise to choose the thread form to make sure of its quality
Some of the best brands of saffron in India are:
- IKS (Indian Kashmiri saffron)
- Baby Saffron
- Premium Kashmiri Saffron
- Lion brand saffron
- Shalimar brand saffron
In spite of all the health benefits of saffron, never overlook its possible side effects. Pregnancy is a time you should never take chances. When it comes to drinking saffron milk during pregnancy, strictly stick to the” two-thread rule”.
It is always a good idea to ask your doctor before deciding to include saffron milk in the pregnancy diet. This is a must-follow rule in case of having a health risk pregnancy or having any kind of complications in pregnancy.