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Saffron: It Controls Craving and Fights Depression

Saffron is the world`s most expensive spice derived from the flower saffron 1 Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition caasnCrocus sativus known as saffron flower. The reason for being the world's most costly spice by weight is the stigma, the portion of the flower used for cooking and must be hand-picked off the flowers. To obtain one gram of saffron, at least 150 flowers are needed.

Iran is the world`s largest producer of saffron, producing approximately 90% of the world`s total production of saffron.

Ingredients of Saffron:

Saffron contains over 150 volatile aromatic and non-volatile active ingredients. It is rich in carotenoids such as alpha - carotene, alpha - crocin, beta - carotene, lycopene, and zeaxanthin. The golden yellow color of saffron is mainly due to alpha - crocin.

Another ingredient in saffron is picrocrocin, which involves in flavoring the spice. The main contributing ingredients to the aroma of saffron are safranal (a volatile oil) and trimethyl cyclohexadien.

Saffron is also a powerhouse of many vitamins and minerals.

Health Benefits of Saffron:

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Hip Pain: Tight Tensor Fasciae Latae

Tensor fasciae latae (TFL) is a small muscle that originates from the anterior iliacTensor fascia latae 1 Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition caasn crest, merges with iliotibial band, and attaches to the lateral condyle of the tibia.

The primary functions of the TFL are flexion and abduction of the hip. It also helps with lateral rotation of the tibia.

When the TFL is tight and locked up, it may cause pain in the hip joint, groin, buttock, lower back (over sacroiliac joint) and even the lateral aspect of the thigh. The most common reason of tight TFL is sitting for long hours at a desk or commuting in cars, which causes shortening and tightness of the hip flexors.

Tightness of TFL is also common among athletes involved in horse riding, running, and cycling.

Other causes of tight TFL are:

1) Over-striding. It is running with a stride that is longer than optimal for your body length.

2) Running on crowned roads.

3) Bow legs for any reasons.

4) Shoe factor: worn out running shoes or shoes without beefed up heels.

How to Relieve Tightness:

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Aloe Vera: The Master Healer!

Despite being a controversial remedy in conventional medicine, Aloe Vera is Aloe veral 1 canadian academy of sports nutritionfamous as “The Master Healer” in alternative medicine among naturopathic doctors, herbalists, traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. It is a plant that has been claimed to have healing, rejuvenating, moisturizing, and soothing effects. The fresh leaf gel and latex are used. Aloe latex is the sticky residue left over after the liquid portion of cut leaves has evaporated.

Active Ingredients:

Aloe vera is a powerhouse of nutrients and it contains over 200 different nutrients including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and phytonutrients. The phytonutrients existed in aloe vera are anthraquinonesmucilagesaponins, and plant sterols.

Anthraquinones are phenolic compounds with laxative and cathartic effects. Mucilage is a glycoprotein that has an anti-inflammatory activity and covers the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract and protects them from being irritated. Aloe vera contains small amounts of saponins and plant sterols.

Aloin is another constituent in aloe vera that gives a bitter taste to the aloe products and has a laxative property as well. Medical authorities have concerns about the safety of aloin in humans.

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Cramps in the Legs:

Cramps are sudden, involuntary, and localized contractions of a muscle with a visible cramps in the legs 1 Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition caasnor palpable hardening of the muscle. Cramps are most commonly seen in the leg muscles, especially in the calves. They are painful and last usually few minutes. A leg cramp is sometimes known as “Charley horse” among public. Some people may experience it nighttime, which is called “nocturnal leg cramp”.

Potential contributing factors:

1) Strenuous exercise and muscle fatigue.

2) Dehydration.

3) Electrolyte imbalances, especially magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium.

4) Nutritional deficiencies, especially vitamin B group.

5) Medications: statins, corticosteroids, diuretics, birth control pills, and medications for high blood pressure.

6) Abnormal anatomy of the lower extremity, for example, flat feet.

7) Alcohol abuse.

8) Medical conditions: low function thyroid, diabetes, kidney failure, Addison’s disease, Parkinson`s disease, hypoglycemia, restless leg syndrome, varicose veins, and multiple sclerosis (MS).

9) Pregnancy.

10) Diarrhea.

11) Obesity.

Immediate Approach to Relieve Cramp:

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