- Six cancer-fighting herbs and spices
- 2. Breast cancer
- Ginger for Colon Cancer
- Busting myths: Can a diet rich in herbs and spices prevent cancer and disease?
- Science behind the spices
- All about antioxidants
- Know your supplements
- What’s the difference?
- These 5 tropical plants may ‘provide anticancer benefits’
- Evidence of anticancer benefits in 5 plants
- Implications for new cancer therapies
- 8 Indian spices that prevent cancer
- The Anti-Cancer Diet: Foods That Prevent Cancer
Six cancer-fighting herbs and spices
Memorial Cancer Institute
Herbs and spices can do so much more than enhance the flavor of food. They can help stimulate the immune system and help prevent cancer.
Here are six ways to spice up your food and keep you in good health.
1) Turmeric: It’s a yellow curry powder (active polyphenol ingredient is curcumin) that is shown to inhibit growth of cancer cells. It is also an anti-inflammatory.
Tip: Mix with black pepper (piperine) and olive oil to activate and help with absorption. It can be used as a dry rub or added to soups, sauces and stews.
2) Ginger: Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties protect against cancer. It is also used as a herbal remedy for upset stomach and nausea, and can serve as an appetite stimulant.
Tip: Steep a few thin slices in hot water for 10 minutes to create a soothing tea.
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3) Cayenne Pepper: This hot pepper contains capsaicin, a powerful antioxidant that helps with weight loss and is an anti-inflammatory food. Cayenne also contains beta-carotene. It is known to be toxic to cancer cells and helps prevent growth of cancer cells.
4) Saffron: This spice may be the most expensive, but it packs a good punch. It contains crocins (water-soluble carotenoids) that may inhibit tumor growth and progression of cancer.
5) Oregano: The richest source of antioxidants among herbs slows cancer growth and promotes apoptosis (cell death). It carries antibacterial properties and is a natural disinfectant.
Tip: Marinating with oregano can help reduce the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) created when meat is cooked at high temperatures.
6) Garlic: The most powerful anti-cancer spice is part of the cancer-fighting allium group (onions, shallots, scallions, leeks, chives). Garlic helps boost the immune system to help fight diseases, as well as colds and flu. It also decreases the growth of cancer cells.
Tip: Take one daily dose – 1 clove and remember to “chop and stop” – chop and then let it sit for 10 minutes before using to allow for the formation of allicin (enzyme).
Cancer protection starts with your spice rack. Let’s add spice to our lives!
Cynthia Wigutow is a registered and licensed dietitian with about two decades of experience in acute and long-term care settings. She earned her Bachelor of Science in dietetics and nutrition from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas, and her Master of Science in dietetics and nutrition from Florida International University in Miami.
Cynthia currently serves as president of the Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
2. Breast cancer
Cancer is defined as uncontrolled cell division in our bodies, and it ultimately results in death. Normal body cells are destroyed by cancer cells. Cancer may be caused by unevenness in the body and can be treated by improving this difference. To find out what exactly cancer is, research has spent billions of dollars. Cancer causes deaths of millions of people. Worldwide, 2–3% annual deaths occur because of cancer, and this was surveyed by American Cancer Society. So, all over the world there are about 3500 million people annually die from cancer. There are many treatment options like chemotherapeutic but they have resistance as well as many adverse effects that prevent their usage. Every year more than one million women, worldwide, are diagnosed with breast tumor. Due to unavailability of mammography for routine screening, breast cancer is usually identified at late periods therefore, women get insufficient and less cure, pain assistance and comforting care. Breast cancer has important effect on society and life quality of women; so, it becomes life threatening condition such as premature death and reduced productivity (Ferlay et al., 2001).
For breast cancer, on an average in advanced countries survival rate is 73% and 57% in unindustrialized countries. Rates of breast cancer have dropped in developed countries due to early detection and screening. Therefore, there are three approaches to control breast cancer: professional and public knowledge, practice and attitudes. These approaches are readily available in unindustrialized countries than in developing countries. In terms of both costs and survival, measure to reduce the breast cancer at diagnostic stage is possible to have overall benefit (Ziegler et al., 1993). Clinical Breast Examination is a technique for identifying breast tumor for benefit of public health; it was shown by indirect evidence from studies. It is easy to execute, economical and it can be freely qualified by healthcare suppliers (Parkin et al., 1997). Ladies are at progressively great danger of breast tumor, as a result of changing acquaintances to conceptive and nourishment related factors after some time period, with occurrence rates expanding in many countries and world’s region in the previous couple of decades. The quickest developments are found in unindustrialized nations, where breast tumor growth hazard has verifiably been little with respect to industrial countries (Ziegler et al., 1993). Today herbal remedies are mostly used by self-prescription for management of common ailments for example, anxiety, arthritis, colds, coughs, constipation, fever, headaches, infections, insomnia, intestinal disorders, premenstrual syndrome, stress, ulcers, and weakness. Some of the more common herbs in use today are Echinacea, garlic, ginseng, goldenseal, ginkgo, saw palmetto, aloe vera, and feverfew (Tyler, 1994).
Each breast consists of 15–20 sections, known as lobes, which are further divided into lobules. Small “ducts” are there to connect the lobes and lobules. Therefore, general form of breast tumor is ductal cancer. Ductal tumor occurs in duct’s cells and invades in both breasts as compared to other types of cells. Other classes of breast cancer are invasive and noninvasive. Noninvasive cancer means, type of tumor that does not range past in the zone where it originally formed. Invasive breast tumor is metastasize cancer, it has the tendency to spread in surrounding tissues other than the area where it originally produced. General inflammation of breast refers a less severe form of tumor, called inflammatory breast tumor. Other forms of breast tumor are medullary cancer, defined as “an invasive breast tumor that produces a separate border among cancerous tissue and regular tissue” mucinous cancer, developed by mucus generating tumor cells, and tube-like cancer (WHO, 1981) (see Fig. 1).
Normal breast tissue.
Each lady is at danger for developing breast malignancy. A few moderately solid danger components for breast malignancy that influence vast extents of the all-inclusive community have been known for quite a while. Be that as it may, most breast tumor cases happen in ladies who have no recognizable danger other than their sex. The “well-known” danger elements for breast tumor are feminine sex, oldness, past breast tumor, a type of breast infection, inherited components (history of family with breast tumor), premature age at menarche, menopause at oldness, old age at first full-term pregnancy, stoutness after menopause, low bodily movement, race/origin and high-measurements presentation to radiotherapy in life. The “estimated” danger components for breast tumor includes, never having been pregnant, having one and only pregnancy rather than various, after pregnancy no breast feeding, usage of postmenopausal estrogen substitution treatment or postmenopausal hormone substitution treatment, orally intake of contraceptives, some specific dietary habits like high intake of fat and less intake of fiber, characteristic items, and vegetables, low measure of phytoestrogens, liquor use, smoking of tobacco, and untimely conception. Disregarding the way that men can and do have breast tumor harm, the disorder is 100 times more inclined to happen in a woman as compared to man (Wu et al., 2002). Ladies are at a higher danger of breast tumor since they have generously more breast tissue than men do. Furthermore, estrogen advances the improvement of breast tumor growth. Women of middle age have high risk of breast tumor (Wu et al., 2002, Edwards et al., 2002).
This risk increases as the age of women increases especially after 40 years of age. At the age of 50 or older, women have more than three-fourths of breast tumor in United States (Helmrich et al., 1983). The danger of breast tumor is greater in ladies who have nearby blood relations (mother, sister, or girl) who have had the ailment. If any relatives have developed the breast tumor before the age of 50 years, or in both breasts, the risk of expansion will be higher (Claus et al., 2003).
Nonetheless, most ladies who developed breast malignancy (around 80%) have no such family history of the cancer. The impact of family history on breast disease danger is accepted to be because of hereditary variables. Maximally 5–10% of all breast growth cases are inferable from particular acquired single-quality transformations, and numerous different cases have some hereditary part. The proof from individual families that have breast growth happens much of the time and from expansive epidemiological studies has demonstrated that a few ladies have a familial inclination to breast growth. Some families have hereditary breast tumor which is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. Hereditary breast tumor spread due to germ line mutation in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are reasons for propagation of cancer. Autopsy findings and histopathological results are used to diagnose this hereditary cancer. There are some unidentified genetic defects that put the women on risk of breast tumor except mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Women who touch menarche timely at the age of 12 years or less than 12 and those who have menopause at old age of 55 years, they have more risk of breast tumor than the other women. Estrogen production is responsible for this relationship. Women’s body produces high level of estrogen during reproductive years (Dite et al., 2003).
Ladies who begin to bleed at younger age and/or touch menopause at a late age are presented to large amounts of estrogen for a larger number of years than are ladies who have a late menarche or premature menopause. Women’s age at 1st pregnancy is additional part of conceptive history that is related with breast growth hazard. Ladies who have their 1st full-term pregnancy at a moderately premature age have a lower danger of breast tumor than the individuals who never have kids or those who have their 1st kid generally at old age in lifespan (Helmrich et al., 1983).
Obesity has become reliably connected with an expanded danger of breast tumor growth between postmenopausal ladies (Brown and Allen, 2002, Hirose et al., 2001). This relationship might be intervened for a second time by estrogen generation. Fat cells create some estrogen and stout postmenopausal ladies, subsequently, have a tendency to have more levels of estrogen in blood as compared to thin ladies. Research has reliably demonstrated that the danger of breast tumor growth is less in actually dynamic premenopausal ladies as compared to inactive ladies (Friedenreich et al., 2001). Body movement in puberty might be particularly defensive, and the impact of body action might be most grounded among ladies who have no less than one full-term pregnancy. Investigations of cultural attributes of breast tumor growth uncover that non-Hispanic white, Hawaiian, and dark ladies have the most elevated amounts of breast tumor growth hazard.
High risk of breast tumor was found in women who have presented to high doses of radiation during puberty. This relationship was found both in atomic bomb stayers and women who had high doses of radiations for some therapy (Preston et al., 2002). There are other endogenous hormonal factors for example age of women at first pregnancy and having child, these affect the breast cancer. Females that have no child are at more danger for breast tumor development. Breast cancer risk becomes low if first pregnancy occurs after the age of 30–35 years. The long term utilization of postmenopausal estrogen treatment or joined estrogen/progestin hormone substitution treatment might be connected with an expansion in breast tumor hazard (Porch et al., 2002).
The relationship among the utilization of oral contraceptives and breast malignancy has been contemplated. Numerous studies attempting to connect oral contraceptives with expanded breast tumor growth have been uncertain. In any case, these studies have demonstrated that oral contraceptives try not to affect breast tumor growth hazard (Marchbanks et al., 2002). The utilization of postmenopausal estrogen therapy or in combination with therapy, both may be related to breast tumor factor. It was also studied that there is association among oral contraceptives usage and breast tumor although they do not have prolonged effect on breast tumor. It has been studied that relationship exists between breast tumor and diet, low rates of disease were found in Asia and high rates in Western industrialized nations. An inclusive result was found between vegetarian and non-vegetarian. A link was found in alcohol, cigarette smoking and breast tumor (Atkinson, 2003, Chen et al., 2003). Breast cancer will spread more rapidly in females who have already been identified with breast tumor. Incomplete pregnancy and premature termination of pregnancy have been linked with breast cancer risk. High estrogen level in incomplete pregnancy is responsible for breast cancer.
Ginger for Colon Cancer
Ginger’s intense flavor comes from its main ingredient — a chemical called -gingerol. And that’s not all this chemical does, says Ann Bode, PhD, assistant director of the Hormel Institute at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Bode gave a small dose of gingerol to 20 mice three times a week. The mice — which lack an immune system — ate the ginger ingredient before and after getting injections of human colon tumor cells.
“Mice that received gingerol had a very marked inhibition of human cancer growth,” Bode said at a news conference.
How impressive are the results? Well, it’s only mice. But the University of Minnesota has applied for a patent on the use of -gingerol as an anticancer agent. It has already licensed the technology to Pediatric Pharmaceuticals of Iselin, N.J.
Of course, all fresh ginger contains gingerol. How much would you have to eat to get an anticancer effect? Not much — but it depends on the freshness of the ginger and the kind of ginger you get.
“The ginger component we used is a primary component of ginger root,” Bode tells WebMD. “There can be a half gram of it per gram of ginger root, but this depends on how the ginger is processed and how it is grown. We really don’t know how much ginger root you would have to eat to get the same effect we saw in mice. However, in the popular literature, people have consumed 2-8 grams twice a day with no toxic effect. I am not saying I recommend that, but depending on their culture a lot of people eat a lot of ginger.”
Busting myths: Can a diet rich in herbs and spices prevent cancer and disease?
For centuries, herbs and spices have been used for more than just cooking. Egyptians used the ingredients to mummify the dead. Some cultures used spices as currency or as a way to establish trade with new lands. Herbs and spices were used to preserve meat before refrigeration. And some cultures used them for their purported medicinal properties.
While we no longer use aromatics as currency or to bury the dead, touting the health benefits of herbs and spices has become a multibillion-dollar industry. But before you turn your spice rack into a medicine cabinet, consider that the health claims associated with many seasonings and herbal supplements are, at best, inconclusive, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). And most claims that herbs and spices may help prevent cancer are not backed by clinical evidence.
“Certain spices and herbs may be of value in symptom and side-effect management, such as in easing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting,” says Maurie Markman, President of Medicine & Science at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA). “But there is no evidence for a role for such products in the prevention or treatment of cancer.”
Science behind the spices
For some people, a little spice adds a dash of comfort and nostalgia to certain foods. When Mom sprinkled a touch of cinnamon into your hot cocoa or dropped a clove in your tea when you were sick, it made you feel better even if wasn’t actually making you better. But there is some science behind many of the health claims associated with many seasonings. For instance:
Cloves contain the compound eugenol, which may be found in substances used to relieve dental pain. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there is limited research to prove that cloves by themselves can relieve pain or reduce inflammation. Cloves are popular, however, for seasoning a baked ham and adding flavor to some teas and, of course, pumpkin pie.
Turmeric contains curcuminoids, which are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. But, according the NCCIH, “claims that curcuminoids found in turmeric help to reduce inflammation aren’t supported by strong studies.” Turmeric can add a rich flavor to soup, sauces and stews.
Cinnamon and cinnamaldehyde, the substance that gives the spice it’s aroma and flavor, are subjects of research on Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. But for now, according to NCCIH, “studies done in people don’t support using cinnamon for any health condition.” But many people use it to spice up their morning oatmeal and apple dishes.
Ginger contains several substances that give the root its signature flavor and pungency. And it has been researched, without conclusive evidence, to treat arthritis and cancer. But ginger may be used to help ease nausea.
“You see all sorts of claims about turmeric for its potential anti-inflammatory property,” says Carolyn Lammersfeld, Vice President of Integrative Care Services at CTCA®. “The challenge is, after you dig into those claims, the amounts you’d have to consume in your diet to get the benefit isn’t realistic. Small studies reporting benefit use curcumin supplements, which have the potential for interactions with medications, and therefore should be discussed with your healthcare provider. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to incorporate it into your diet. But the claims about health benefits may be hard to implement.
All about antioxidants
Many herbs and spices are highly touted for their high concentration of antioxidants and their ability to fight a process called oxidative stress, which can cause cell damage. Oxidative stress occurs when the body produces too many free radicals, which are unstable molecules that form when atoms with unpaired elections latch onto other atoms. Our bodies are constantly producing free radicals, and lifestyle choices and environmental factors—such as stress, smoking, a poor diet, and exposure to contaminants, pollutants or excessive sunlight—may lead to rapid free-radical production. Left unchecked, free radicals may quickly multiply, leading to oxidative stress, which may cause cell damage and lead to potential health issues. To fight free radicals, the body relies on antioxidants, which are compounds that can either disassemble unstable molecules or neutralize them. Just as the digestive system needs a balance of good and bad bacteria, the body requires an equilibrium between free radicals and antioxidants.
The debate rages, however, over the impact free radicals and antioxidants can have on disease and overall health, posing questions that have yet to be conclusively answered, like:
- Can oxidative stress cause cancer or other diseases?
- Can antioxidants help repair DNA and prevent cancer?
- Can a diet that includes antioxidant-rich herbs, spices and other foods help prevent cancer and other conditions?
“There is ongoing research on the potential role of antioxidants in a variety of clinical conditions,” Dr. Markman says. “There is currently no evidence of a role for such strategies in the treatment or prevention of cancer.”
Know your supplements
Americans spend about $1 billion a year on herbs and spices, mostly for use in cooking. But in seeking more of a health boost, Americans spent more than $8 billion on herbal dietary supplements in 2017, nearly double the amount spent in 2000, according to industry sources quoted by the American Botanical Council. So, is money spent on herbs, spices and supplements being poured down the drain? Not necessarily. Like many foods, seasonings have nutritional value and can add rich flavors to healthy, well-balanced meals. “We turn to spices to add flavor to food without adding as much or any salt or sodium,” Lammersfeld says. “So, from a standpoint you are reducing sodium and may help to reduce blood pressure.” Seasonings may also encourage you to eat healthier by making vegetables tastier.
If you choose to try supplements, be aware of potential side effects and drug interactions and their purity and potency. Some supplements don’t interact well with prescription drugs. For instance, St. John’s wort, a popular herbal supplement touted to help treat depression, may weaken the potency of medications such as birth control pills and antidepressants. And studies show that St. John’s wort may interfere with cancer drugs, such as irinotecan, a chemotherapy drug used to treat colorectal cancer.
“One of the major concerns with the use of unregulated, orally ingested supplements is for potential interactions with established, effective treatment strategies,” Dr. Markman says. “This includes both increasing toxicity and accelerating the metabolism of an agent, potentially reducing its effectiveness. Patients interested in taking supplements should be encouraged to openly discuss their plans with their health care providers.”
What’s the difference?
Herbs and spices come from different parts of plants or trees.
- Spices are derived from the root, stem, bark or seed of a plant or tree.
- Herbs are the plant’s leaves.
Some plants can produce both. For instance, coriander (the seeds) and cilantro (the leaves) come from the same plant–coriandrum sativum.
Get healthy recipes for savory main dishes and sweet desserts.
These 5 tropical plants may ‘provide anticancer benefits’
In a recent study, scientists identified several tropical plants that have anticancer properties.
Share on PinterestThe Bandicoot Berry (shown here) may have anticancer benefits.
Researchers from the National University of Singapore, Department of Pharmacy (NUS Pharmacy) spent 3 years investigating the pharmacological properties of local plants.
They found that three species were particularly effective at inhibiting the growth of several cancers, and they have now published their findings in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
Despite the widespread use of modern medicine in Singapore, there is a tradition of using local plants to treat various conditions, including cancer.
Cancer is the current leading cause of death in Singapore, where 1 out of every 4–5 people develop the condition at some point in their lives.
A 2017 report by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board stated that the number of people who receive a cancer diagnosis will continue to rise, but that the number of people who survive will also increase as medical technology and cancer care improve.
Southeast Asian countries, including Singapore and Malaysia, are undergoing rapid urbanization that is transforming their landscape and culture. Because there is a lack of scientific evidence around the medicinal properties of local plants, the NUS Pharmacy team recognized an urgent need to document any health benefits these plants may provide before the knowledge is lost.
Evidence of anticancer benefits in 5 plants
The team focused on seven plants that people have used as traditional medicines for cancer. They were:
• Bandicoot Berry (Leea indica)
• Sabah Snake Grass (Clinacanthus nutans)
• Fool’s Curry Leaf (Clausena lansium)
• Seven Star Needle (Pereskia bleo)
• Black Face General (Strobilanthes crispus)
• South African Leaf (Vernonia amygdalina)
• Simpleleaf Chastetree (Vitex trifolia)
In the study, the team prepared extracts of “fresh,” “healthy,” and “mature” leaves from these plants and examined their effects on cells from breast, ovarian, uterine, cervical, leukemia, liver, and colon cancers.
Bandicoot Berry, South African Leaf, and Simpleleaf Chastetree had an anticancer effect against all seven types of cancer, according to the researchers. Fool’s Curry Leaf and Black Face General also had protective properties against some cancer cells.
Interestingly, the team found that Sabah Snake Grass was not effective at preventing the growth of cancerous cells, despite many people with cancer in the region using it.
The authors hypothesize that people commonly use Sabah Snake Grass as a traditional medicine because it offers some kind of benefit to people with cancer other than killing cancerous cells.
Implications for new cancer therapies
“Medicinal plants have been used for the treatment of diverse ailments since ancient times,” says lead study author Koh Hwee Ling, “but their anticancer properties have not been well studied.”
“Our findings provide new scientific evidence for the use of traditional herbs for cancer treatment, and pave the way for the development of new therapeutic agents.”
Koh Hwee Ling
Koh and colleagues add that further research is required to identify the active compounds that provide the anticancer effects associated with these plants. They also caution against people with cancer attempting to self-medicate using these plants without first consulting their doctor.
Recently, Medical News Today looked at some other studies that evaluated the anticancer properties of plants. One of these was a 15-year-long study into a small flowering plant called the Madagascar periwinkle.
Scientists have been aware for more than 60 years that this plant has beneficial properties for people with cancer, but until recently, they had been unable to fully understand or replicate its mechanism of action.
Earlier this month, MNT looked at a study that found that medicinal herbs grown in Mauritius contain chemical compounds that may help treat esophageal cancer.
The authors of that study argued that maintaining global biodiversity is key to ensuring the discovery and development of breakthrough therapies now and in the future.
8 Indian spices that prevent cancer
Not every battle is struck by a wave of violence and not every fight culminates in bloodshed.
When the opposition in question is an adamant disease like cancer, our armoury should be packed with a lifestyle of regular health check-ups and a diet including foods that double as anti-cancer agents.
When actress Lisa Ray was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a relatively rare cancer of the bone marrow, all she said was, “I’ll beat cancer”. Carrying this spirit of defeating a disease often labelled ‘incurable’, we try to find out diet methods, especially in the selection of spices that can avert the multiplying of malignant cells in the body that gradually mature into insurmountable cancer cells.
Our grandmothers would in no time prepare us a glass of warm milk with saffron sprinkled on top when we went crying to her with bruise on our knee or wound on the elbow. The herbal turmeric paste soothed minor cuts and healed all skin rashes. These age-old kitchen tricks are little more than mere quick-fix tactics. Spices like turmeric and saffron are inherent with medicinal properties that, when incorporated to our diet from an early stage strengthens our bodies against invasion of toxins, bacteria and virus.
Senior consultant surgical oncologist Dr. B. Niranjan Naik and senior clinical nutritionist, Fortis La Femme, Shipra Saklani Mishra, inform us about the goodness of Indian spices with cancer-fighting properties and the necessity of their inclusion to our eating habits.
Turmeric/Curcumin: This is the king of spices when it comes to dealing with cancer diseases, besides it adding a zesty colour to our food on the platter. Turmeric contains the powerful polyphenol Curcumin that has been clinically proven to retard the growth of cancer cells causing prostrate cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, brain tumour, pancreatic cancer and leukemia amongst a host of others. Curcumin promotes ‘Apoptosis’- (programmed cell death/cell suicide) that safely eliminates cancer breeding cells without posing a threat to the development of other healthy cells. In cases of conventional radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the surrounding cells too become a target in addition to the cancer cells. Therefore, the side-effects are imminent.
Fennel: Armed with phyto-nutrients and antioxidants, cancer cells have nothing but to accept defeat when the spice is fennel. ‘Anethole’, a major constituent of fennel resists and restricts the adhesive and invasive activities of cancer cells. It suppresses the enzymatic regulated activities behind cancer cell multiplication. A tomato-fennel soup with garlic or fresh salads with fennel bulbs make for an ideal entrée prior to an elaborate course meal. Roasted fennel with parmesan can be another star pick.
Saffron: A natural carotenoid dicarboxylic acid called ‘Crocetin’ is the primary cancer-fighting element that saffron contains. It not only inhibits the progression of the disease but also decreases the size of the tumour by half, guaranteeing a complete goodbye to cancer. Though it is the most expensive spice in the world for it is derived from around 250,000 flower stigmas (saffron crocus) that make just about half a kilo, a few saffron threads come loaded with benefits you won’t regret paying for. Saffron threads can be used in various ways:
Cumin: Yes, it aids digestion and probably that is why we like chewing a handful of cumin seeds at the end of every meal. However, its health benefits go beyond. A portent herb with anti-oxidant characteristics, cumin seeds contain a compound called ‘Thymoquinone’ that checks proliferation of cells responsible for prostate cancer. So, instead of loading your usual snack options with calories and oil, add this seasoning to your bread, fried beans or sauce and make the dish rich in flavour and high on health. You can rediscover the magic of cumin in your regular bowl of tadka dal and rice too!
Cinnamon: It takes not more than a half teaspoon of cinnamon powder every day to keep cancer risk away. A natural food preservative, cinnamon is a source of iron and calcium. Useful in reducing tumour growth, it blocks the formation of new vessels in the human body. Some of the effective ways of including cinnamon in your diet are:
-Start your day with a cup of cinnamon tea (in leaf or sachet)
-Make your breakfast meal a super healthy one; just add this wonder spice to your
morning oatmeal and you are going well!
-A fruity delight comprising chopped apples, a few walnuts and your magic potion cinnamon
-Honey and cinnamon in your glass of milk before going to bed; no cancer nightmares assured!
Oregano: More than a pizza or pasta topping, oregano confirms its worth as a potential agent against prostate cancer. Consisting of anti-microbial compounds, just one teaspoon of oregano has the power of two cups of red grapes! Phyto-chemical ‘Quercetin’ present in oregano restricts growth of malignant cells in the body and acts like a drug against cancer-centric diseases.
Cayenne Pepper/Capsaicin (Chilli peppers): A promising spice with anti-cancer properties, an overdose of chilli peppers however should be restrained. Capsaicin induces the process of apoptosis that destroys potential cancer cells and reduces the size of leukemia tumour cells considerably. It can be concluded that apart from setting our tongues on fire, chilli peppers can scare cancer pathogens off too.
Ginger: This humble spice boasts of medicinal qualities that help lowering cholesterol, boost metabolism and kill cancer cells. Easily added to vegetable dishes, fish preparations and salads, ginger enhances the flavour in cooking. Chew on fresh parsley if the odour bothers you.
Others: Cloves, anise, basil, garlic, caraway, fenugreek, mustard, mint leaves, rosemary, Limonin (fresh lemon), virgin olive, vinegar and avocado are other cancer-fighting diet components.
Dr. K Medhi, Senior Consultant, Medical Oncology informs us on other diet habits that can keep cancer risk at bay:
1. A plant-based diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and beans is the best organic way to fight cancer.
2. Add fibre: Replace white rice with brown rice in meals
3. Substitute whole-grain bread for white bread; choose a bran muffin over a pastry
4. Snack on popcorn instead of potato chips.
5. Eat fresh fruits with skin.
6. Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation.
7. Cook with olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil
8. Avoid packaged or fried foods that are high in trans-fats
9. Avoid processed salt. Celtic sea salt/Himalayan salt can be consumed sparingly.
10. Cancer patients: Do not load your diet with turmeric or Curcumin supplements without doctor’s consult or prescribed dosage.
Cancer fighting salad recipe: Couscous salad with sun dried tomato
Couscous Wheat- 120 gms
Turmeric – 1 gm
Salt/pepper To Taste
Sun dried tomato- 2 nos
Olives (black/Green) – 2 nos each
Mint leaves- 2 sprig
Bell pepper dices- 15 gm
Olive oil- 2 Tsp
Pickle onion- 2 nos
1. Take a pan and add salt, pepper, turmeric, couscous, olive oil and saffron. Steam the couscous for 5 minutes and chill immediately.
2. Now add lemon juice, bell pepper, olives, sun dried tomato, pickle onion (chopped) and dice ginger. Mix well and add mint. Mould it on top of lettuce leaves and serve chilled.
(Recipe contributed by Chef Diwas Wadhera, Executive Chef at Mosaic Hotels, Noida)
The Anti-Cancer Diet: Foods That Prevent Cancer
An anti-cancer diet is an important strategy you can use to reduce your risk of cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends, for example, that you eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily and eat the right amount of food to stay at a healthy weight. In addition, researchers are finding that certain foods that prevent cancer may be an important part of an anti-cancer diet.
Although selecting cancer-fighting foods at the grocery store and at mealtime can’t guarantee cancer prevention, good choices may help reduce your risk. Consider these anti-cancer diet guidelines:
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients that are thought to reduce the risk of some types of cancer. Eating more plant-based foods also gives you little room for foods high in sugar. Instead of filling up on processed or sugary foods, eat fruits and vegetables for snacks. The Mediterranean diet offers foods that fight cancer, focusing mostly on plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. People who follow the Mediterranean diet choose cancer-fighting foods like olive oil over butter and fish instead of red meat.
- Sip green tea throughout your day. Green tea is a powerful antioxidant and may be an important part of an anti-cancer diet. Green tea, a cancer-fighting food, may be helpful in preventing liver, breast, pancreatic, lung, esophageal, and skin cancer. Researchers report that a nontoxic chemical found in green tea, epigallocatechin-3 gallate, acts against urokinase (an enzyme crucial for cancer growth). One cup of green tea contains between 100 and 200 milligrams (mg) of this anti-tumor ingredient.
- Eat more tomatoes. Research confirms that the antioxidant lycopene, which is in tomatoes, may be more powerful than beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and vitamin E. Lycopene is a cancer-fighting food associated with protection against certain cancers such as prostate and lung cancer. Be sure to cook the tomatoes, as this method releases the lycopene and makes it available to your body.
- Use olive oil. In Mediterranean countries, this monounsaturated fat is widely used for both cooking and salad oil and may be a cancer-fighting food. Breast cancer rates are 50 percent lower in Mediterranean countries than in the United States.
- Snack on grapes. Red grapes have seeds filled with the superantioxidant activin. This cancer-fighting chemical, also found in red wine and red-grape juice, may offer significant protection against certain types of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic degenerative diseases.
- Use garlic and onions abundantly. Research has found that garlic and onions can block the formation of nitrosamines, powerful carcinogens that target several sites in the body, usually the colon, liver, and breasts. Indeed, the more pungent the garlic or onion, the more abundant the chemically active sulfur compounds that prevent cancer.
- Eat fish. Fatty fish — such as salmon, tuna, and herring — contain omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fatty acid that has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. If you don’t currently eat fish, you might consider adding it to your anti-cancer diet. Another way to add omega-3s to your diet is by eating flaxseed.
Be proactive, and make more room in your diet for the following foods that prevent cancer.