Some like it hot, but new research bolsters the evidence that cancer cells do not – at least in the diet. It is well documented that people who eat a diet high in turmeric (the bright yellow spice found in most curry dishes from India) have a lower incidence of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers. Research with mice back in 2005 identified curcumin, as the component in turmeric with the cancer fighting properties. It’s no wonder. Cancer is an inflammatory disease and curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory with anti-tumor, anti-oxidant and anti-arthritic properties.
Curcumin has been and is currently being studied in the treatment of a number of diseases including cervical cancer, pancreatic cancer, malaria, HIV infection, Herpes simplex infection and Alzheimer’s disease.
The latest research out of Brittain shows curcumin’s effectiveness in killing cancer cells in the esophagus. The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, found that curcumin started to kill the cancer cells in as little as 24 hours after exposure and once the cancer cells were altered by the spice, they began to “digest themselves” according to a BBC News report.
Turmeric, the spice that contains curcumin, is a member of the ginger family and while being mild in flavor, can taste bitter. This combined with turmeric’s connection with spicy Indian food can lead many Americans to avoid using it in cooking. While there are commercially available curcumin supplements available, Dr. Andrew Weil recommends consuming the whole turmeric because of the potential synergy between all of the compounds found in the spice. Dr. Weil recommends brewing the turmeric into a tea and drinking it cold and unsweetened.
While I certainly like ginger tea, I’ve never tried turmeric tea. We do use it occasionally in cooking and we are always looking to more ways to use it in recipes. So maybe some tea might be worth a try, especially now that there’s a fall chill in the air.
But either way, for improved cancer prevention, add a little spice to your diet.
- Paul Kulpinski, LMT