Saffron as a functional food and a nutraceutical using saffron and its constituents as the nutraceutics to protect against chronic diseases
The emphasis on living with a healthier lifestyle is creating opportunities for new products to promote health and prevent disease. Health and wellness will continue to be a major global trend for the next decades. Food (both conventional and functional) and natural health products introduces new opportunities for the agri-food industries and for consumers, an opportunity to enhance overall well-being and vitality. Saffron secondary metabolites include an array of bioactive compounds able to improve human health. The exposure to these phytochemicals, including carotenoids, monoterpene aldehydes and flavonoids, through correct dietary habits, may promote health benefits, protecting against the chronic degenerative disorders such as cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. During the past decade, after purification of the most important components of saffron, their therapeutic effect on various types of cancer (e.g. breast and stomach cancer), diabetes and chronic neuropathic pain was investigated. In addition the preventive effect of saffron components on chemical induced cancer was studied. The molecular mechanism of action of these components was also considered. Studies indicate the antioxidant, anticancer and antidiabetic activity of saffron and some of its constituents. Thus, not only because of their therapeutic role but also for their preventing role against many diseases. Use of saffron and some of its constituents in the free form or as the additive in food products is recommended. In this regard crocin, crocetin and picrocrocin are the most important products, however, results reveal that using safranal needs more attention and in some circumstances it should be avoided.
Bathaie, S.Z. (2018). Saffron as a functional food and a nutraceutical using saffron and its constituents as the nutraceutics to protect against chronic diseases. Acta Hortic. 1200, 201-204