Does saffron raise blood pressure? – Growing Saffron Crocus In Pots

Yes, said the FDA. Saffron contains phytoestrogens, which are natural chemicals, hormones or substances that increase the amount of the male sex hormone testosterone.

Studies have shown that saffron may reduce blood pressure, so long as the individual consuming it takes in fewer of its specific phytoestrogen, called 2,7-Diol. Those who don’t consume saffron also avoid taking the hormone, so saffron may reduce hypertension.

But the FDA said saffron’s health benefits only seem to occur when consumers eat it raw. “Saffron-contaminated foods also raise levels of other phytoestrogens in the diet,” the agency said. “This means there is concern that foodborne illness can occur if people don’t take proper precautions to avoid exposure to such harmful substances.”

A second study was funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Washington’s Center for Medical Food. It found that eating foods with large amounts of two flavonoids in the red parts of the plant significantly reduced blood pressure. Those are carvacrol, a chemical with an antioxidant action, and saffronin A and A-beta-tocopherol. They may help reduce blood pressure by preventing the oxidation of fatty acids, which causes high blood pressure.

Both studies looked at blood pressure and metabolism in healthy people using a simple measure of blood pressure. Both studies found evidence that high blood pressure increased among those who didn’t drink a lot of saffron. But it’s not clear whether the elevated blood pressure may have been caused by the plant or other food components.

But food scientists aren’t all that concerned about saffron. At the University of California on the West Coast, food scientist Matthew Johnson said, “There’s no compelling evidence that saffron is harmful” in the first place.

Johnson, who was coauthor of the study on saffron and high blood pressure, said some phytoestrogens, such as carvacrol and saffronin A, may be naturally present in certain types of crops such as cotton and soybeans. (Cotton, though, is not as red as saffron, because the color of its leaves is not red.)

And while some studies have shown that people who eat a lot of red or orange food, such as bananas or grapes as well as strawberries, may have higher blood pressure, Johnson said one

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