Saffron During Pregnancy - Benefits, Side Effects, How to Prepare Saffron Milk
Created by Harleen Gupta Updated on Jan 13, 2020
Saffron, also known as Kesar (केसर) or Zafran (ज़ाफ़रान) is the world's most costly spice. It is widely used both as a spice and medicine. Saffron is derived from the Crocus sativus flower. It takes about 75,000 saffron flowers to make 450 grams of saffron- imagine the man-hours it takes to produce a kilo of saffron! This is the primary reason that makes it the most expensive spice. Since ancient times onwards, especially in India, pregnancy and saffron consumption are closely related due to various reasons. Hence, one general advice that one receives during pregnancy is to incorporate saffron into the pregnancy diet. Still, you might have some doubts about its safety, the truth behind the influence of saffron on the complexion of the unborn baby and the possible side effects of saffron while pregnant. This blog will help you to know everything about the influence of saffron in your pregnancy.
Is It Safe to Eat Saffron When Pregnant?
Even though it is absolutely safe and beneficial for pregnant women to take saffron during their pregnancy period, excessive intake of saffron can create many undesirable issues and can even pave the way for an unfortunate miscarriage. Therefore, limit the intake of saffron to the suggested level.
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Benefits of Consuming Saffron in Pregnancy
Ayurveda believes that the right amount of saffron consumption facilitates pregnancy inconveniences. Here are a few facts about saffron that will help the expectant mothers.
- Prevents Hypertension: High blood pressure is a common issue encountered by several expecting mothers. Elevated blood pressure possesses a threat to both mother and the Saffron for a 1-month-old baby. It is scientifically proved that potassium and crocetin in Saffron bring down the blood pressure
- Helps to Relieve Morning Sickness: Saffron can work wonders with morning sickness as it can help to get rid of nausea and dizziness
- Helps to Fight Allergy: Pregnancy is a time when the body of the mother focuses on the baby. As such, the immunity of the mother goes down and she may have to battle frequent bouts of coughs, colds, and congestion. Drinking saffron milk regularly can help to alleviate these allergies. According to Ayurveda, applying the paste of sandalwood and saffron is a natural way to bring down a fever.
- Helps to Improve Digestion: Improper digestion is one of the most common pregnancy complaints. Be it constipation, bloating, heartburn – saffron helps to improve digestion and enhances metabolism. Regular intake of saffron even helps to soothe the gastrointestinal acidity by forming a coating on the inner wall of the intestine
- Helps to Prevent Pregnancy linked Hair Fall: The hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy can adversely affect the hair growth. Most of the pregnant women complain about severe hair fall. Saffron can be used to reduce the intensity of the pregnancy-linked hair fall. Making a paste of a couple of Saffron strands, milk, and licorice and applying that paste on the scalp or bald spots can prevent the hair fall and stimulate hair growth
- Elevates Mood: Most women encounter mood swings during pregnancy. This might be because of variation in the hormonal level or anxiety about the progressing pregnancy. In any case, these mood swings make you prone to irritations, depressions and make you impulsive. Saffron has anti-depressant properties and its daily consumption will help to improve your mood and enable you to feel happy and good
- Helps to Relieve Muscle Cramps: As the third-trimester kicks in, the expecting mothers start grumbling of severe muscle cramps in the legs and abdomen. They may also experience pain in the joints. Saffron has an anti-spasmodic property which helps to reduce the excessive contractions of the muscles in the legs and the abdomen and relax the joints thereby providing relief from the cramps. [Read This - Benefits of Saffron for 1-year-old Babies, Infants]
- Prevents Iron Deficiency: Sometimes the diet of pregnant women fails to meet the increased demand for iron. As a result, they are more prone to iron-deficient anemia. Having saffron regularly (in the recommended quantity) can help in preventing iron deficiency anemia as saffron is a rich source of iron
How Much Saffron Can I Have While Pregnant?
More than suggested quantities of saffron can bring about different issues in the course of pregnancy. The suggested safest dosage is less than 250 mg per day (overall used in milk, food, and desserts) [Source]. Some adverse effects of consuming more than the recommended dosage of pregnancy are -
- Intake of 500 mg saffron per day can adversely affect your blood pressure level. If you are already experiencing low blood pressure, strictly note the amount of saffron you are consuming and always keep it below 250mg
- Using 500 mg of saffron twice per day (total 1gm) can bring down the blood pressure to a dangerous level and adversely affect the pregnancy
- Using around 2 grams of saffron can initiate uterine contraction and thereby can lead to miscarriage and preterm labor
When to Start Saffron in Pregnancy?
You can start taking the recommended dose saffron at any time during your pregnancy. However, it is better to start to take saffron from the second trimester. In fact, the second trimester is also believed to be the time when the pregnancy is considered stable, and initial discomforts of morning sickness and nausea also provide some relief. Ayurveda suggests including saffron in the menu from the moment the mother starts to know the movement of the baby (around the fifth month of gestation). This is because the first trimester is not a good time to introduce new stuff in your diet. You can have one glass of saffron milk in the morning and evening. Some women also add a few strands of saffron to their meals. Sweets like kheer and phrini are usually infused with a few saffron strands, and so are biryanis and lassis.
Possible Side Effects Of Saffron During Pregnancy
Despite the fact that saffron is highly beneficial in the course of pregnancy, the intake of excessive amounts of saffron can end up with some serious side effects as well. The most widely recognized side effects are:
- Risk of miscarriage: The property of the saffron of increasing the body heat of the mother can pave the way to miscarriage. Excessive intake can also trigger uterine contractions, which can also lead to miscarriage
- Sensitivity: Some pregnant women may experience anxiety, nausea, dry mouth, and headaches after consuming saffron and it indicates an allergic reaction against saffron. Severe allergic complications include bleeding from the nose and numbness of lips and eyelids. Therefore, stay away from saffron in case you notice any of the above symptoms
- Vomiting: This is the worst side effect of saffron. Not only the vomiting makes you feel tired, but it could also lead to the loss of the vital nutrients and can also result in dehydration
What Are The Best Saffron Brands During Pregnancy?
Never purchase saffron that is sold loose without proper packing. Always buy top quality, unadulterated and ISO certified saffron for consumption during pregnancy. Select saffron that appears deep red and dark. The darker the color, the more aromatic and beneficial the spice will be. Always check thoroughly and ensure that the saffron you are purchasing is devoid of white or yellow threads. White and yellow strands indicate the saffron has been tainted using other parts of the saffron flower. Saffron is available as threads as well as powder. It is suggested to always go for threads so that you can make sure of its quality. Saffron is quite expensive, hence to increase the shelf life of the spice, wrap it in aluminum foil before storing in an airtight container. Here are some of the best brands of saffron in India:
- Baby Saffron
- Shalimar brand saffron
- Lion brand saffron
- Premium Kashmiri Saffron
- IKS(Indian Kashmiri saffron)
How To Prepare Saffron Milk For Pregnancy?
Take a glass of milk in a saucepan and bring to boil. Now add 2 to three threads of saffron, chopped almonds (optional) add simmer on low flame for five minutes. You can also add other nuts like pistachios, and a dash of cardamom. The color of the milk will turn yellowish, and the flavor will get infused. Add some sugar if you like your milk sweet. Never strain. Pour it into a glass. Your saffron milk is ready.
Does Having Saffron Milk During Pregnancy Make The Baby Fair?
You might have heard that including a glass of saffron milk in your daily menu gives your baby fairer skin. But, there is no scientific proof that supports this view. What you eat when you are pregnant has no impact on the color of your baby's skin. It is the hereditary factor and also the quantity of melanin pigment present in the skin, which influences the newborn baby's skin color. Your baby's color and skin tone are determined by you and your husband's genes and not on what you eat or drink. This is largely a myth.
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| Sep 21, 2017
Saffron is also known as kesar or zafran.. I believe it's that remarkable herb if taken in the right quantity especially during pregnancy can do wonders. I too remember being advised to add kesar strands to my glass of milk by a family friend during pregnancy in order to get a fair complexioned baby. it's a myth which should be debunked at the earliest. thanks Harleen Gupta for sharing benefits as well as harmful effects of having saffron in excess during pregnancy.