Canada's Spice Queen™, Trusha Patel, a former corporate lawyer turned organic spice purveyor is on a mission to put real flavour and nature's medicine back on our plates.
Through this blog "Living a Life of Spices", Canada's Spice Queen™ introduces you to easy recipes, versatile ways to integrate good flavour into your food with the best spices and blends, information on spices you wish you'd known before and connects you to a behind the scenes look into her business, the Spice Sanctuary.
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Friday, 2 March 2012
Spices Against Cancer
To say that almost all spices have cancer preventative properties would be a sweeping statement but it is actually true.
Antioxidants inhibit free radicals that get into the body from oxidizing our cells and tissues which often go onto cause serious diseases such as cancer. Different foods have different antioxidant levels and each of these work differently to help neutralize the free radicals. The National Institute on Aging in the USA developed a system of measuring the antioxidant values of certain foods, the theory being that foods higher on the ORAC scale will be more effective at penetrating the free radicals. The value is known as an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) value.
Spices and herbs come really high on the overall scale and among the spices themselves, Cloves, Cinnamon, Turmeric and Black Pepper do quite well.
The ORAC value of Cloves is 290,283 which would translate into approximately 3144 units per gram. Cloves can also help with regulating blood pressure, acting as an anti-inflammatory and has good Vitamin A levels.
The ORAC value for Cinnamon is 131,420 which would translate into approximately 2674 units per gram. Cinnamon in its true form is a real super spice. From helping with Type 2 Diabetes to Cholesterol control, it is also a good antiseptic and antibacterial.
The ORAC value of turmeric is 127,068 which would translate into approximately 1593 units per gram. There have been many studies showing turmeric's positive effects fighting against cancer, particularly breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer. Turmeric is also well known for being an effective anti-inflammatory and it is now being linked to helping with Alzheimer's too.
The ORAC value of black pepper is 34,053 which would translate into approximately 306 units per gram. The substance in black pepper that is believed to be the cause of its sneezing effects has been found to increase the bioavailablity of potent cancer-fighter curcumin (the active polyphenol found in turmeric) by 1,000 times, which means that when combined together, black pepper and turmeric pack a powerful anti-cancer punch. One study even found that black pepper and turmeric combined, eaten in normal dietary amounts, was able to destroy breast cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are difficult to get rid of with chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
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