3 Disease-Fighting Spices

Potent ways to ward off illness may lurk inside your spice cabinet.

ByABC News
October 4, 2011, 5:16 PM

Oct. 4, 2011— -- You know that stay-healthy tricks include eating lots of fruits and veggies, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. But there may also be some potent ways to ward off illness inside your spice cabinet. Here are three seasonings making headlines lately for their health-boosting powers.

Curcurmin is the antioxidant ingredient that gives turmeric (commonly used in Indian curries)its yellow color. The super ingredient has already been linked with preventing diabetes, protecting against Alzheimer's, and easing arthritis pain -- and a new study show it also helps ward off tumors. Curcumin helped prevent the growth of tumors tied to colon cancer, according to a study in the journal Gastroenterology. "Our research found that curcumin was able to ignite the body's own tumor suppression activity to keep a cancerous tumor from growing and spreading," says Dr. Ajay Goel, Ph.D., Director of Epigenetics and Cancer Prevention at the Gastrointestinal Research Center at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, TX. "Though we used colon cancer cells in this study, we suspect that this is one mechanism of action for cancer suppression in many other types of cancer as well."

Turmeric Recipe Ideas: Indian Made Easy

Saffron is a red-colored spice that adds flavor and color to foods, and it may have a chemopreventive effect against liver cancer, finds a study to be published in next month's issue of Hepatology. Liver cancer is the fifth most common kind, and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. The new study was done on rats, but researchers think the power spice may help fight cancer by reducing inflammation in the liver and blocking the growth of cancer cells.

From Prevention: Saffron Recipe Ideas

Images of apple pie and raisin toast might come to mind when you think of cinnamon, but it's benefits go beyond spicing up comfort foods. In fact, studies show that as little as 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon a day may be all it takes to help keep blood sugar levels in check and lower levels of artery-clogging triglycerides in people with Type 2 diabetes. Try sprinkling some in your coffee or tea to boost flavor and health.

From Prevention: Cinnamon Recipe Ideas


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