Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD, LD

Licensed Nutritionist & Environmental Health Specialist

Archive for the ‘saffron’ tag

Seafood = Brain Food

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The secret to immortality comes from the sea according to Shin Kubota at Kyoto University. He tends jellyfish and reports they contain apoaequorin- a protein proven to support brain function like memory and learning.

Japan has the world’s oldest population and also enjoys the culinary delights of sea cucumbers and sea urchins. Both of these marine species are able to change the elasticity of collagen within their bodies so researchers are considering they may hold the key to maintaining youthful skin in humans, according to Professor Maurice Elphick in General and Comparative Endocrinology. Peptides within these echinoderms cause rapid stiffening and softening of the collagen in their cell walls which may provide the secret to preventing wrinkles.

Most Americans have become aware of omega 3 fatty acids from seafood sources like wild Alaskan salmon, but few realize that it also contains a healthy dose of astraxanthin to support the cardiovascular system and joint health. Findings reported in Atherosclerosis recommend daily supplementation of 0.5 to 4.5 grams omega 3 fatty acids to improve a blood vessel’s ability to relax. Higher doses were not effective.

We need to start looking to other sources for marine-based fatty acids and minerals in the diet. In December 2012, the New York Times featured a whelk and potato chowder on the front page of the food section. Whelks are a by-catch of the fishing industry that can be boiled in salt water and served as an Atlantic sea snail with garlic butter. Whelks, conchs, and murexes contain concentrated amino acids which have been enjoyed by other cultures to boost libido, increase energy, and improve muscle tone.

To get in the spirit of enjoying the fruits of the sea, try a classic dish called Bouillabaisse or fish soup. It is more of a stew than a soup which originally was cooked on the beach by fishermen using any of their catch that had little market value. Today, Bouillabaisse can be found on some seafood restaurant menus featuring tomatoes, potatoes, onions and saffron to complement an assortment of seafood choices. It fits into the MIND diet (Mediterranean Intervention Neurodegenerative Delay) and the DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension). Fish and seafood really is brain food. Try adding various assortments of seafood to this recipe for a quick and tasty meal.


1 small onion or leek, chopped
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
3 cups water or fish stock
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Large pinch of saffron
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves or 1 fresh sprig
1 1/2 pounds fish, cut into bite-size chunks
2 potatoes, peeled & sliced thin
Salt & pepper to taste

Saute onion and garlic in oil. Add tomatoes, water, tomato paste, saffron, bay leaf and thyme. Cook until tomatoes are soft. Add fish and potatoes. Simmer until fish and potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes over low heat. Season to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Calories per serving 246
Protein 24g
Carbohydrates 13g
Fat 4g
Sodium 232mcg (No salt added)

Written by PFAdmin

September 28th, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Saffron Rice with Shrimp and Scallops

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Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world but it has amazing culinary and medical properties. The small crocus plant with purple flowers and three stamens is handpicked throughout the Mediterranean and India. About 150,000 flowers are needed to produce 1 kilogram of dry spice.

Saffron has been used primarily to lend a reddish-yellow coloring to butter, pastries, such as Swedish saffron bread, and confections. It also is added to bouillabaisse, Spanish paella and rice dishes like the one featured here.

Safranal, the compound found in crocus saffron, is an antioxidant, and it has been reported to inhibit cancerous cell growth. The pharmacological effects of safranal also indicate its use as an antidepressant and an anti-inflammatory compound.

According to the Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Science, the essential oil in saffron stamens offers more than just color and taste.

As the most expensive source of vitamin B-2, or riboflavin, in the world, saffron is best used in small quantities. At concentrations of even 5 grams it can cause severe gastrointestinal distress.

The full benefits of this spice are just beginning to be discovered.

New research indicates that saffron has hunger-reducing properties that can aid in weight loss. When planning a low-calorie diet, include some saffron rice to minimize food cravings. In folk medicine circles, saffron is considered to be an aphrodisiac and mood enhancer.

Betty Wedman-St Louis is a licensed nutritionist and environmental health specialist in Pinellas County who has written numerous books on health and nutrition. Visit her website at​

Saffron Rice with Shrimp and ScallopsSaffron Rice with Shrimp and Scallops

1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon saffron stamens
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled
1/2 pound sea scallops
1/2 cup coconut milk or coconut cream

Cook rice, water, saffron and salt together in saucepan over medium heat until rice is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Add butter. Let stand while simmering shrimp and scallops in coconut milk until tender. Fluff rice with fork and surround with shrimp and scallops on serving platter.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 268 calories; 17g protein; 18g carbohydrates; 7g fat; 207mg sodium.

Written by bwsl

January 21st, 2015 at 3:13 pm