Americans have come to want more ethnic food and ingredients in their diet. It may not have been so some years ago. It may be due to the medicinal values that ethnic ingredients contain. As it is widely known, lots of spices have valuable medicinal qualities that play an important role in curing or at least bringing relief to some major illnesses.
Although ethnic food offers flavours that are powerful and distinct, their indulgence subtly brings in an amazing amount of nutritional and health benefits.
Studies have revealed that spices have a range of health benefits. Although all countries and races bear the burden of cancer and there is not one country in the world that is not affect, studies have revealed that the highest incidence of cancer are in western countries. It might be interesting to note that the cancer rate in India is considerably lower than those in more developed countries, such as the United States. However, some say that India has a high cancer rate. Although this has been said, it is interesting to note that India does not occupy a slot in the Global Statistic Rates of Cancer in the ten worst countries, which are predominantly western countries.
It is the writer’s opinion that the reason for the low rate of cancer in India is the consumption of spices that has led to the curtailment of the disease. It is really the western lifestyle that is to be blamed for the high percentage of cancer in these countries.
Cancer fighting spices are Garlic, Turmeric and Rosemary. If one sits back and ponders, none of these spices are used in abundance in western countries. For example, Garlic has immune enhancing alluim compounds that appear to increase the activity of immune cells that fight cancer and indirectly help break down cancer causing substances. These substances also help block carcinogens from entering cells and slow tumor development. According to Dr. Lenore Arab, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who compiled a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Issue 2000, people who consume raw or cooked garlic regularly, face about half the risk of stomach cancer and two thirds of the risk of colorectal cancer, as people who eat little or none. It is believed that garlic may help prevent stomach cancer because it has anti-bacterial effects against a bacterium, Helicobacter Pylori, found in the stomach and known to promote cancer there.
In the Michigan Daily, it was reported that Turmeric may help fight cancer. Preliminary evidence suggests that turmeric can enhance the cancer fighting power of treatment with Tumor Necrosis Factory-Related Apoptosis Inducing Ligand (TRAIL), a naturally occurring molecule used to kill cancer cells. According to a study, author Subhash Gautam, a Researcher at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, he says, “Using these two agents – Turmeric and TRAIL, we killed up to 80% of cells in culture, which is remarkable.”
The sulfur-containing compounds that give garlic its pungent odor are also responsible for its role as a cancer-fighting food. The National Cancer Institute “recognizes garlic as one of several vegetables with potential anticancer properties,” noting that garlic may help support good health by:
• Blocking the formation of cancer-causing substances
• Halting the activation of cancer-causing substances
• Enhancing DNA repair
• Reducing cell proliferation
• Inducing cell death
• Providing antibacterial properties
Population studies have shown that increased intake of garlic may help reduce the risk of several types of cancer, including stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast.
To get the most benefits, garlic should be eaten in fresh form and chopped or crushed first (this converts the beneficial phytonutrient alliin into allicin, its active form). For general health, the World Health Organization (WHO) also recommends adults get “a daily dose of 2 to 5 g of fresh garlic (approximately one clove), 0.4 to 1.2 g of dried garlic powder, 2 to 5 mg of garlic oil, 300 to 1,000 mg of garlic extract, or other formulations that are equal to 2 to 5 mg of allicin.”
Remember that for the best cancer-preventive benefits, your diet should include a wide range of fruits and veggies — from oranges and apples to artichokes and pea pods. The more natural variety your meals offer, the more nutrients — and the greater cancer protection — you and your family will receive.