By Eirian Hallinan
People have used spices for centuries to add flavor to food and to treat all kinds of health issues. In recent years, certain spices have been found to lower the risk of several cancers.
The following are 6 spices that have been shown to decrease cancer risk. Spice things up in the kitchen with these and lower your cancer risk.
This is one of the most broadly studied spices. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, over 1,700 studies on turmeric have been published, including clinical trials looking into the spice’s role in lowering cancer risk.
Turmeric, which is part of the ginger family, has a yellow pigment curcumin, which is a polyphenol. Curcumin has been in the news quite a bit in recent years because of its anticancer properties and ability to stop tumor cell spread and kill cancer cells. Lab studies, including small clinical trials in humans, have had promising findings that show that curcumin suppresses inflammation and inhibits tumor survival and may slow the spread of cancer to other parts of the body in those with breast cancer.
This tasty spice has long been used for fighting motion sickness and nausea, and more recently was found to also improve nausea related to chemotherapy. Studies have found that ginger may reduce the risk of cancer because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-tumorigenic properties.
Fresh ginger can be enjoyed in several ways, from slicing it and adding it to boiling water for a soothing tea to grating it onto salads and into your favorite stews or stir-fries.
What makes cayenne hot is a compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin has been used for everything from pain relief to improving circulation. Studies in recent years have found that it decreases the growth of certain types of cancer cells, including prostate and pancreatic.
Capsaicin dietary supplements and creams are recommended over trying to eat large quantities of hot peppers or cayenne in order to get the health benefits.
Contrary to popular belief, all spice is not a combination of spices, but rather the coined term for a spice derived from the dried berries of the Pimenta diocia tree. Allspice, also referred to as “Jamaica pepper” or “pimenta”, has been found to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, as well as anticancer properties. Anti-tumor activities in allspice have been noted in studies on its effect on prostate cancer and other types of cancer.
Allspice is a versatile ingredient that can add an aromatic kick to everything from pie and cider to meat dishes.
Researchers continue to examine garlic’s effects on cancer, but so far have found that it protects against colorectal and stomach cancers. It is believed that its effect on cancer comes from its antimicrobial properties. It may also improve DNA repair, as well as prevent the spreading of cancer cells and promote cell death.
Though you can buy garlic in powder form; fresh garlic is very affordable and easily added to all kinds of dishes, such as pasta, sauces, pizza, and more.
Oregano has long been a staple in the Mediterranean diet, which we now know is associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer, as well as other diseases. Oregano has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It’s also recently been discovered that oregano extract stops cancer cell growth and kills existing cancer cells, according to a 2009 study. Another study found that marinating meat with oregano can reduce heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which are carcinogens that are created when meat is cooked at high temperatures.
The robust flavor of fresh oregano can be added to sauces and pasta dishes, along with meat dishes and salads. Of course, marinating your steaks, burgers, and other grilled meats is also a great way to make barbecuing healthier.