(Natural News) Saffron is a highly-prized spice with many uses. However, according to several studies, the spice can also be used to reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in adults aged 50 and older. In the U.S., over 11 million older Americans have some degree of macular degeneration linked to aging. At least 30 percent of individuals aged 75 have the eye condition in the country.
Thankfully, studies have shown that some plant carotenoids can help lower your risk of developing macular degeneration or even delay its progression. Some studies have also determined that you can boost your eye health by taking at least 20 milligrams (mg) of saffron extract.
Macular degeneration occurs when a person is exposed to ultraviolet light and visible light. The condition can also be caused by chemical stresses from too much glucose or oxygen in the bloodstream. These factors can make the retinal light-sensing cells break down.
If you are continually exposed to these factors, you can eventually suffer from vision loss and blindness.
How can saffron benefit your eye health?
To prevent degeneration, you need to preserve the structural integrity of the macula. You can do this by taking saffron supplements that can help protect the macula and prevent the breakdown of the light-sensitive cells at its center. Thanks to these benefits, saffron can help address the root cause of age-related macular degeneration.
In an initial saffron study, patients who were in the early stages of age-related macular degeneration were given either a placebo or 20 milligrams (mg) per day of saffron. The study findings determined that the improvements in eye responses to light were noticeably stronger in the group that took saffron. This suggests that saffron intake is associated with healthier retinal cells. (Related: Saffron cures macular degeneration.)
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According to the results of a second saffron study, participants who took saffron had stronger visual acuity, that is, sharpness in distance vision. The researchers noted that saffron supplementation helped improve the light-sensing abilities of the eyes and delay the progression of macular degeneration. After three months, volunteers from the second study “could see another full line on the eye chart.”
The researchers who conducted the second study said that taking 20 mg of saffron per day also had longer-term health effects. They found that after 14 months, participants could see two more additional lines on an eye chart. Researchers suggested that longer term supplementation of saffron may offer more benefits for eye health.
Tips for better eye health
If you wish to improve your eye health, increase your intake of the nutrient alpha-carotene. Individuals who have high levels of alpha-carotene in their systems have about a 32 percent lower risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration.
Increase your intake of foods with alpha-carotene, and take saffron extracts together with other key retina-strengthening nutrients to keep your eyes healthy.
Keep in mind that the benefits of saffron and alpha-carotene are boosted by the intake of nutrients such as astaxanthin, cyanidin-3-glucoside, lutein, and zeaxanthin are taken.
The following foods contain nutrients that can boost the benefits of saffron and alpha-carotene:
What is saffron?
Saffron is a fragrant spice used in cooking and it comes from the crocus flower (Crocus sativus).
- The saffron crocus grows in the Middle East and parts of Europe. The flower is commonly cultivated in Greece, India, and Iran.
- The flower only flowers for at least three to four weeks from October to November. The flower produces dark red stigmas, or threads, that are carefully removed by hand and dried. These stigmas are considered to be the saffron spice.
- Saffron is one of the most expensive spices around the globe. It needs to be harvested by hand, and a large quantity of blossoms and dried stigmas are needed to make 1 kilogram (kg) of the spice.
- Saffron is used to add color and flavor to food. It can also be used as a fabric dye and a perfume ingredient.
- It can also be prepared as a tea.
In traditional medicine, saffron was used to treat health conditions like:
- Eye disorders
- Menstrual issues
- Mental disorders
- Stomach issues
- Trouble urinating
You can read more articles about saffron and other superfoods that can boost eye health at Superfoods.news.