Doctors and scientists these days stress on shifting to a healthy lifestyle, which involves active life and nutritious food. It not only prevents you from day to day health problems but also protects your body cells from being converted into cancerous cells.
Cancer is one of the major reasons behind various deaths in the world and it is estimated that the number of new cases can rise by 70% over the next two decades. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery are the three main modalities to treat cancer. However, some of these treatments are associated with prominent side effects. The introduction of a healthy lifestyle and nutrition can exert a positive impact on cancer treatment and also protect healthy people from the risk of cancer.
One of such healthy food for cancer patients and healthy people are different types of spices.
For thousands of years, spices are widely used as condiments because of their taste, colour, and flavour. In India, these spices have a special place, not only as a condiment but also as medicines, traditions, and religion. From 100 BCE, Indians have extensively used these spices and many other herbs in folk medicine for treating certain ailments. From metabolic disorders to cough and cholesterol problems, spices can deal with everything.
From recent studies, it has also been evident that spices are also helpful to reduce the risk of various deleterious cancers. That is why it is very essential to take these spices regularly in your diet.
Let’s explore the spices and cancer association in deep!
1. What are the spices?
Spice can be bark, root, seed, or fruit of a plant that primarily used for colouring, preserving, or flavouring foods. These are different from herbs, which are leaves, stems, or flowers. These spices are most of the time used in the powder form for convenience.
2. Different types of spices
India is blessed with different climates and each of its statesproduces some spices or other. There are a variety of spices you can found in India and also in some other parts of the world.
The spices involved garlic, ginger, clove, turmeric, coriander, pepper, saffron, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, chilly, cumin, fenugreek, bishop’s weed, and nutmeg.
3. Role of various spices in cancer prevention
Turmeric is a very famous spice used in Indian and other Asian cuisines. It contains active ingredient curcumin, which exhibits several therapeutic effects due to its significant anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer properties.
The major mechanism through curcumin shows its amazing action against cancerous cells are inhibition of proliferation and invasion of tumours (via suppressing certain cellular signalling pathways) and induction of apoptosis.
Several scientific studies report that curcumin is beneficial against various cancer cell lines, for instance, head, neck, lung, breast, prostate, brain tumour, and squamous cell carcinoma.
2) Black cumin
Black cumin is known as an oriental spice, which has been in use since the times of ancient Egypt. This spice is embedded with various active ingredients, such as fixed oils, essential oils, alkaloids, proteins, and saponins.
Amongst all, it is profoundly enriched with a bioactive component named Thymoquinone. This component is predominantly responsible for its anticancer and antineoplastic activities against various tumours and cancer cell lines.
Besides its astonishinganti-cancer properties, this spice also synergizes the effect of chemotherapeutic agents when given concomitantly.
Ginger has been used to treat stomach upsets, diarrhoea, nausea and to aid digestion since ancient times. We all know, how effective ginger is for our digestive system.
But do you know? It is also beneficial against gastrointestinal cancer.
Various experimental studies have evaluated that active components found in ginger, such as 6-shogaol and 6-gingerol exert potent anticancer activities against GI cancer (cancer of different organs of the digestive system).
Experimental studies showed that ginger and its active components including 6-gingerol and 6-shogaol exert anticancer activities against GI cancer. The anticancer activity of ginger is attributed to its ability to modulate several signalling molecules caspases, and other cell growth regulatory proteins.
Garlic cloves also possess potent cancer-preventive, chemo-sensitization, antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties. These potential properties of garlic are due to its metabolic byproducts, organosulfur compounds.
This spice helps to retard cell cycle progression and induce apoptosis of various cancer cell lines like upper digestive tract cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer.
The dried dark red and most expensive spice in the world also exhibits potent actions against some cancers like lung, reproductive, and digestive system cancers.
This activity of saffron is due to its bioactive components: crocetin and crocin.
Other than these, there are also some other spices like peperine, coriander, red chillies, rosemary, cinnamon, cardamom, and oregano which also possess significant action against various cancers and tumours. Therefore,must include these spices in the diet for cancer patients and healthy individuals.
4. How to include these spices in diet?
Well, there is no general rule on how to consume these spices.
1) You can simply add some of these spices during the end the of cooking dishes.
2) You can also prepare a decoction by mixing various herbs. For instance, mix little quantities of turmeric, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves in two glass of water. Boil until one glass left. Strain and have this water regularly. These types of decoctions not only prevent you from coughbut also boost your overall immunity.
3) Else, you can also take some of these spices n the form of tea (ginger, cardamom, or cinnamon) or some in form of homemadesauce or pickle (coriander, garlic, or ginger).
So, there are a variety of options through which you can add these spices in your meal. These spices are the main shield against cancer cells, so it is a must for us to include these in our diet.