The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties of curcumin, the powerful yellow spice found in both turmeric and curry powders, have been undergoing intense research in various parts of the world.
According to researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, curcumin blocks a key biological pathway needed for development of melanoma and other cancers.
The spice stops laboratory strains of melanoma from proliferating and pushes the cancer cells to commit suicide by shutting down nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB), a powerful protein known to induce an abnormal inflammatory response that leads to an assortment of disorders such as arthritis and cancer.
Researchers treated three different melanoma cell lines with curcumin and evaluated the activity of NF-kB, as well as IKK, a protein that triggers NF-kB. Results showed that despite how much curcumin was used, the spice still:
- Prohibited both proteins from being activated
- Worked to stop the growth of melanoma
- Induced cell suicide
More on Curcumin
Curcumin has long been utilized in India and other Asian nations for multiple uses, including a food preservative, a coloring agent, a folk medicine to cleanse the body and as a spice to flavor food.
What's telling, however, is that in India (where the spice is widely used) the prevalence of the top four U.S. cancers -- colon, breast, prostate and lung -- is 10 times lower.
Cancer July 11, 2005
Science Daily July 14, 2005
Wouldn't life be boring without spice?
Spices are absolutely wonderful and make quite a dramatic difference in the flavor of food. I also find it amazing that not only do we get a flavor boost, but many of the spices will actually improve our health.
Some of my favorite spices are the hot spices, and I love Thai food. I am not as attracted as much to the curries, though.
That brings up a point, as you really do want to honor what your body tells you. If any food or spice does not taste good or "feel right," stay away from it -- no matter who is telling you how good it is for you. Your body is a far better judge of that than anything you will ever read. In other words:
Listen to your body.
Your body is designed to give you all the feedback you need to make the right food and lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, most of you do not tune in to this important feedback system and do not fully utilize the benefits it can bring you.
It can even cure cancer.
Cancer is a big deal. It's estimated that nearly 1.5 million new cancer cases and nearly 600,000 cancer deaths will occur in the United States this year. Cancer has recently unseated heart disease as America's number one killer of people under the age of 85.
So if you like curry, then by all means use it regularly in your diet, as the evidence is very compelling that it will prevent cancer. But if you don't like it, then don't worry, as there are no "magic bullets" for cancer. Just incorporate the other approaches to avoiding cancer into your life: