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Menopause Menu: Saffron

Feb 18, 2023

My “MENOPAUSE MENU” series explores foods that can be easily assimilated into your diet and may have beneficial effects on menopause symptoms. Today’s Menopause Menu superstar is Saffron. Not only is saffron delicious but it packs quite the power punch in regards to its potential benefits on a wide range of menopause symptoms. It has been shown to reduce symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, depression, and mood swings associated with this transitional period. It has also been shown to improve learning and memory-enhancing. Studies have also suggested that saffron may aid in reducing the frequency of insomnia and decreasing anxiety levels. 

Saffron comes from the Crocus sativus flower and has long been used in traditional medicine to treat various conditions. A 2008 study published in the Iranian Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Infertility found that saffron was more effective than a placebo in treating hot flashes in menopausal women. The results suggested that saffron significantly reduced the study participants' average number of hot flashes. Similarly, another study published in Climacteric in 2009 found that after eight weeks of taking saffron extract orally, menopausal women in the treatment group reported significant declines in their hot flashes compared to those in the placebo group. 

The effects of saffron on mood swings and anxiety have also been studied. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine indicated that daily consumption of a saffron supplement improved mood and lessened psychological symptoms in a sample of postmenopausal women. These effects may be due to saffron’s ability to inhibit the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO), which is associated with depression and other mental health issues. 

In addition to its benefits on menopausal symptoms, saffron is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies have found that saffron can reduce inflammation and protect against oxidative damage. This may make it useful for managing age-related health concerns such as joint pain and macular degeneration. 

Overall, it is clear that saffron offers a range of potential benefits for menopausal women. It has the potential to reduce hot flashes, improve mood, lessen anxiety and depression, and may even help protect against inflammation and oxidative damage. 

Here's a delicious recipe by Jamie Oliver for Baked Saffron Rice.

Disclaimer: By no means is this to be taken as medical advice or nutritional guidance. My advice is always to be careful when adding new supplements or herbs to your diet because they could interact with your medication/medical condition. It is always an excellent idea to reach out to your physician to confirm that adding any new food/supplement will not harm your health.