Expert backs three spices in diet to keep cancer away

Spices can spike cancer. Turmeric can prevent the deadly disease. So can coriander and cinnamon.
Dr Bharat B Aggarwal, founder director of the Anti-inflammation Research Institute, San Diego, USA, has a scientific explanation. According to him, curcumin – the active ingredient in turmeric – is effective against cancer. Times of India

“Spices contain compounds that fight oxidation and inflammation, the two processes underlying most chronic diseases, including cancer,” said Aggarwal, a former professor of experimental therapeutics, immunology and biochemistry at The University of Texas MD Anderson cancer centre.

Turmeric’s powerful properties help prevent oxidation and the resulting chronic, low-grade inflammation that trigger or advance many lifestyle diseases.

Aggarwal claimed that research had proved that turmeric, taken as supplemental curcumin, was as effective and, in some cases, more effective than pharmaceutical drugs without their side-effects.

“Once, my former colleagues and I had compared curcumin with anti-inflammatory and pain-killing medications, as well as with cancer drugs. Curcumin proved to be more effective at reducing inflammation than over-the-counter aspirin and ibuprofen, and as effective as the more powerful drug Celebrex. It also proved as effective in thwarting breast cancer cells as tamoxifen, a drug widely used to stop its spread or recurrence,” he said.

Cut to cinnamon. It can prevent cancer besides managing blood sugar levels and other cardio-vascular disease risk factors. Coriander can help curb colon cancer, while ginger can prevent other forms of the deadly disease.

Aggarwal said, “Cancer is basically a lifestyle disease. Quit smoking and drinking. Avoid stress. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits, maintain the diversity of food and spices in daily diet. When the costs of medicines and healthcare are skyrocketing, simple traditional Indian food and lifestyle can have positive influence on our health. ”

He suggested that people should come out of their comfort zone to dodge the deadly disease. “If you sit back on a sofa and watch TV, you’re susceptible to lifestyle diseases, including cancer. Shed some sweat,” he said.
Batting for a shift from pharmaceutical to ‘farmaceutical’ treatment of cancer, Aggarwal said, “Promoting farms than pharma companies can go a long way in building a healthy India.”

The incidence of breast, colon, or prostate, or even lung cancer – the most common cancers in the western world – is still significantly low in India__about 124.6 people out of 1,00,000 suffer from prostate cancer in the US as against only 4.4 persons in India. “It is so because Indians consume spices and lead an anti-inflammatory lifestyle,” Aggarwal said.

Known for contributing to inflammation biology and cytokines as regulators of tumour cell growth, Aggarwal vociferously demanded a ban on tobacco to prevent cancer. “Can you cite a single benefit of tobacco? It has none. Then why it should not be banned?” asked Aggarwal in the presence of

Earlier, Aggarwal delivered a lecture on “Targeting Inflammatory Pathways by Spices for Prevention and Therapy of Chronic Diseases” at the seminar hall in the Institute of Bioinformatics and Biotechnology of Savitribai Phule Pune University. Vice-chancellor Dr W N Gade chaired the session. Bhushan Patwardhan and Amita Kumar, both professors at Savitribai Phule Pune University, were present for the talk.

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