Safflower seeds, rich in vitamin C and K, are very useful for cardiovascular disorders and arteriosclerosis. Let's find out better.
Main nutrients of safflower seeds
The safflower ( Carthamus tinctorius ), also known as zafferanone, is a plant cultivated in hot countries from which a precious vegetable oil is extracted but also a coloring substance for foods, fabrics and cosmetics, cartamina, with an aroma reminiscent of saffron .
Traditionally, the robes of Buddhist monks are still dyed with saffron flowers.
About 45% of safflower seeds are fat, 20% protein and 33% fiber .
The oil extracted from these seeds is very rich in linoleic acid (omega 6) and has an important percentage of oleic acid compared to other vegetable oils. It is also a valuable source of vitamins C and K.
Safflower cultivation is aimed at oil production .
There are different varieties of safflower, selected over time also according to the needs of the reference market: those that produce oil with greater quantities of oleic acid are destined for the food industry, for resistance to high temperatures and rancidity, while the safflower which produces oil with greater quantities of linoleic acid is destined for the paint industry, due to its drying properties.
You can learn more about the benefits of vitamin K and the foods that contain it
Safflower seed oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats that control the levels of "bad" cholesterol (LDL) in the blood and are useful in the prevention of cardiovascular and arteriosclerosis disorders .
Safflower oil is used to produce vitaminized vegetable margarines and natural supplements for those suffering from vitamin deficiencies .
Among the beneficial actions of this oil there also appears to be the adjuvant effect in weight loss and folk medicine attributes great properties to it: it strengthens physical and mental activity and helps sexual activity .
Already in the Middle Ages it was used against asthma, cough and psoriasis, for the laxative properties and safflower seed infusions were used to restore strength and health to elderly people (this custom is still practiced today in India and Africa).
The high content of vitamin K gives safflower seeds a coagulant and antitumor action, as well as making them valuable allies in the prevention of osteoporosis .
Other uses of safflower oil are industrial ones, mainly for make-up production and for the composition of colors and paints .
In painting safflower seed oil is used to thin the colors and slow down the drying process and thanks to its resistance to light, it does not yellow over time, therefore perfect for very light and pastel shades.
Safflower seeds in the kitchen
Safflower is often used as a substitute for saffron ; cheaper than the first, it has a much more intense color but a more delicate flavor.
The safflower contributes, thanks to an enzyme, to make the milk more dense, which is why it is perfect for giving consistency to creams and puddings .
An infusion of safflower, useful in case of asthma or cough, can be prepared by putting 2 grams of safflower seeds in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes, filter the drink and add a teaspoon of honey.
By Stefania Puma