A taste of India

Turmeric Benefits Include Cancer Prevention

May 4th 2012

Turmeric May Prevent Cancer and Improve Cell Health
Article found on http://www.suite101.com/naturalmedicine
Mar 25, 2009 by Jeanne Grunert

Long-known as a healing herb to the ancient Indian and Chinese physicians, many Westerners are now turning to turmeric for its health benefits. Recent research supports the ancient concept that turmeric improves both cell health and is a potent anti-cancer herb. In India, for example, where turmeric is a staple spice in regional cuisine, the incidence of four types of cancer, including cancer of the colon, breast, prostate and lung, is 10 times lower than in the United States. The secret ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which gives the spice its yellow color and may provide the potent health benefits of turmeric and turmeric powder.

Turmeric Studies Indicate Curcumin Fights Cancer

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been studied extensively. Researchers have found that curcumin:
  • Slows the growth of cancer cells
  • May prevent cancer cells from multiplying
  • Improves the immune system response, so that the body can mop up any cancerous cells on its own
  • Decreases the amount of a particular protein that is thought to increase tumor growth

Researchers at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, completed a study on curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, and its effects upon skin melanomas. The results indicate that curcumin in turmeric has potent anti-proliferation effects, meaning that in the experiment, it demonstrated the ability to keep cancer cells from multiplying.

Health Benefits of Turmeric Include Improved Cell Function

One of the most surprising health benefits of turmeric appeared in the latest scientific research published in the March 2009 issue of the Journal of American Chemistry. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that curcumin actually improved the function of the cell membrane. This is important to cell health, for the membrane creates a barrier around the nucleus and other cell components and protects it, allowing in invited guests such as nutrients and water and hopefully keeping uninvited guests out. The health benefits of turmeric, including its anti-inflammatory properties, may be due to turmeric's ability to improve the health of the cell itself and improve cell function.

Turmeric powder and its active ingredient, curcumin, may be as magical as the ancient healers of India and China once thought. To get the most health benefits of turmeric, add this spice to rice dishes, Indian cuisine, and other meals. It's best to add turmeric powder rather than curry powder as it concentrates the beneficial turmeric spice. The taste is peppery and sharp. Side effects of turmeric may include an upset stomach, so if you find yourself feeling ill after eating too much of the spice, you may wish to add less or discontinue its use. Someday, perhaps, science will distill the health benefits of turmeric into a capsule, a sad day for lovers of Indian cuisine, but great news for those for whom the side effects of turmeric may be too much.

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