Research Reveals the Secrets Behind my Good Mood and Look
October 8, 2010 2 Comments
According to research from Iran’s Roozbeh Psychiatric Hospital at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, saffron, the reddish-gold strands—dried stigmas of Crocus sativus—may have a role in relieving symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and depression.
Shahin Akhondzadeh, Ph.D., and his colleagues gave 50 women with PMS two (15 mg) saffron capsules or placebo capsules daily over two menstrual cycles, keeping track of their symptoms in diaries. By the end of the study, over three-quarters of the women who had taken the equivalent of a micropinch of saffron reported that their PMS symptoms (such as mood swings and depression) declined by at least half, compared with only 8 percent of women in the placebo group.
In fact, saffron has long been used in traditional Persian medicine as a mood lifter, usually steeped into a medicinal tea or used to prepare rice. In previous studies, he found saffron had antidepressant effects comparable to the antidepressants fluoxetine (Prozac) and imipramine (Tofranil); he posits that the spice works by “the same mechanism as Prozac,” helping to make the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin more available to the brain.
Here are also two ingredients that not only add flavor to your favorite dishes but can help in your battle against the bulge.
A 2003 study published in Diabetes Care showed that as little as one teaspoon of cinnamon per day can boost the body’s weight-loss ability by reducing blood sugar and promoting healthier processing of carbohydrates. It also lowers LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) by seven to 27% and total cholesterol by 12 to 26%. Plus, cinnamon has been shown to prevent the metabolic syndrome commonly seen in pre-diabetics. But before you go on piling the spice by spoonful, note that cinnamon contains a chemical called coumarin, which can lead to liver damage if consumed in very large amounts.
I use cinnamon a lot for my Persian Macaroni.
Among the dozens of health benefits of this common household ingredient is its ability to improve digestion and promote the absorption of nutrients in tissues all over the body. Plus, its main component—piperine (which gives pepper its pungent taste)—boosts fat metabolism by as much as 8% for several hours after ingesting it. If you want your pepper to pack the most punch, use freshly ground pepper, which has the most concentrated amounts of piperine.
I literally use black pepper with anything I eat.