Certain spices contain phytochemicals that help keep cancer at bay. Not to mention that they can add a little pizzazz to your next meal. I like to add these six spices to pretty much everything nowadays, and they have become a staple in my journey towards health. So, go on and pass the garlic, please.
1. Tumeric: contains the powerful anti-cancer ingredient, Curcumin (which gives the spice its natural yellow colour). Curcumin is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents on the market, and it has been clinically shown to inhibit the growth of various cancer cells, as well as inducing apoptosis (natural cell death) in cancer cells. Some studies have suggested that curcumin can help suppress the proliferation and transformation of cancer cells by interfering with the cell-signaling pathways involved in cancer.
Besides nasty terrifying diseases like cancer, what else is tumeric good for? Well, proponents claim that tumeric can help with rheumatism, Alzheimer’s diesease, lowering cholesterol levels, as well as with digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, Colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Additionally, given its antiviral and antiseptic properties, tumeric has also been known to help with illnesses caused by toxins from parasites and bacteria.
You don’t have to just eat curry in order to add this wonderful spice to your cooking repertoire, I like to add tumeric to my salads, soups, popcorn, and sweet potatoes.
2. Oregano: a super spice that contains very high levels of antioxidants and antimicrobial compounds. One teaspoon of oregano is said to have the same antioxidant power (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of two cups of red grapes! Oregano contains the phytochemical Quercetin, which is known to slow cancer growth and also promote apoptosis (cancer cell death). In case that’s not enough for you, Oregano also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which is why many people like to take oregano oil when they feel the first signs of a cold or flu (I know, I do). It’s also a source of Vitamin K and iron.
Being of Italian ancestry, oregano was already a staple in my diet, as Italians use oregano on pizza, pasta sauce, meat, potatoes, and just about anything else you can think of (oregano gelato anyone?)..so I’ve just added more of it to what I eat.
3. Garlic: is a super duper anti-cancer spice. Numerous studies have shown that it can lower the risk of developing all types of cancers especially colon, stomach, intestinal, and prostate cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, the allyl sulfur compounds in garlic are said to play a major role in fighting and preventing cancer. These compounds reportedly help the body get rid of cancer-causing chemicals and help cause cancer cells to die (there we have that word again, apoptosis). Claims have also been made for the immune-boosting properties of garlic which may reduce cancer cell growth and help the body fight off diseases such as colds or the flu.
Garlic has strong antibacterial properties and as such has been used to help treat bacterial, yeast, fungal, and parasitic infections. Proponents also say it has properties that may help with abdominal problems, and it has also been claimed to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, and reduce blood pressure.
I love garlic. Although fresh garlic is better than it’s powdered counterpart (I like to use both), sometimes people find that fresh garlic is much stronger. I have been putting fresh garlic and garlic powder on tons of stuff! Does my breath stink afterwards? It sure does! But hey, it’s all in the name of healing…..so go for it! You just might want to lay off of it before a first date or job interview 🙂
4. Cinnamon – is probably one of my favourite spices in the whole wide world, I love it! It is an ancient spice that has been used for years. It is a natural food preservative and is a source of iron and calcium. Cinnamon has been shown to be useful in reducing tumor growth. Studies have showed that cinnamon helps to inhibit multiple pro-inflammatory pathways in cancer cells, and inflammation can lead to the spread of cancer, people!
There has also been word on the ability of cinnamon extracts to suppress the in vitro growth of H. pylori bacteria, which is a recognized risk factor for stomach cancer, gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma, and pancreatic cancer. Damn!
Other health benefits of cinnamon are that it helps to lower blood sugar levels (which is great news for diabetics and cancer patients alike), it’s a source of antioxidants, it can be helpful with Parkinson’s, and it is also useful as an anti-inflammatory. Plus, it’s so yummy!
Every time I have cinnamon, not only does it remind me of Fall (which is my fave season), but it also makes me feel all warm and tingly inside. It’s one of those feel-good spices and it smells delicious. I like to put cinnamon in my healthy baking, smoothies, almond milk cappuccinos’, and some savoury dishes as well. The great thing about cinnamon is that it almost mimics sweetness, even though it is not a sweet spice. Therefore, I find using cinnamon helps cut back on the need for sugar. Score! Makes you want to go and have some apple pie, doesn’t it? (Only if it’s dairy and refined sugar free!)
5. Ginger: fresh ginger contains gingerol, while dried ginger forms zingerone. Both these properties are thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and therefore may be protective against cancer, especially colon and ovarian cancer. As such, both fresh and powdered ginger are excellent additions to your healthy lifestyle.
Besides its anti-cancer properties, ginger is also said to be effective in assisting with abdominal issues, upset stomachs, nausea, bloating, gas pains, and loss of appetite. It’s also beneficial when you have a cold or flu, as it contains immune boosting properties.
I love to use fresh ginger in my smoothies, carrot juice, green juices, as well as in teas with lemon and raw honey whenever I’m feeling a little sickish. I also use both fresh and powdered ginger in my healthy baking and desserts and stir-frys. And remember, with ginger, a little goes a long way!
6. Cayenne: contains the antioxidant, Capsaicin, which is the active compound that sets your mouth on fire. It also assists in the killing of cancer cells (that’s right, apoptosis). Woo hoo!
This spice is also used to aid with weight loss, burn calories, stimulate your metabolism and immune system, stimulate the digestive tract, relieve aches and pains, promote detoxification (as it helps you get your sweat on), and can help lower blood pressure.
I try to add a bit of cayenne to my cooking to help boost my immunity, but for me, I can’t overdo it with this spice as too much can irritate my stomach and give me heartburn (not fun to deal with). Everyone is different, so see what works for you, and adjust your level of spiciness accordingly.
Hopefully, you will now all go perusing through your cupboards and pantries and grab some of these spices and start adding them to your foods. Go on, get sexy with spices!