Spices and herbs, apart from adding flavor to foods, are known for their health benefits. They help in reducing the risk of a number of health disorders including cancer. Certain herbs and spices are sources of compounds that help in blocking mutation of genes that lead to development of cancer cells. Furthermore, certain bioactive compounds present in a number of spices and culinary herbs help in strengthening the immune system so that they can easily destroy the rogue cells.
The Following Spices And Herbs Are Considered Especially Beneficial For Fighting Cancer:
Rosemary contains two potent antioxidants called rosemarinic acid and caffeic acid that help in neutralizing free radicals responsible for damaging the genetic material of the cells. It is also a good source of vitamin E, which is valued for its antioxidant activity that helps in reducing risk of cancer. Rosemary especially helps in lowering the risk of estrogen-induced breast cancer. It seems to help in increasing production of certain liver enzymes that help in suppressing the activities of estrogen. Furthermore, rosemary contains a compound called carnosol, which helps in blocking certain substances that are known to increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
This popular spice widely used in the Indian cuisine is valued for its anti-cancer property. A large number of studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of curcumin, the key bioactive constituent of turmeric, in fighting cancer. Research has shown that curcumin helps in detecting and destroying the abnormal cells in the body through various mechanisms. The antioxidant property of turmeric helps in blocking transformation of healthy cells into cancer cells. Furthermore, in cancer patients, curcumin helps in improving the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
A number of bioactive compounds found in ginger such as gingerols and shogaols are known for their anti-cancer activities. Studies suggest that the phytochemicals present in ginger help in obstructing the cancer cells from invading the healthy cells. The anti-proliferative activity of the ginger compounds seems to help in arresting progression of the diease. Laboratory studies suggest that the ginger compounds are capable of destroying the cancer cells. Moreover, ginger helps in reducing nausea, a common side effect of chemotherapy.
Garlic is a source of sulfur compounds that are known for their anti-cancer activities. The garlic compounds help in blocking synthesis of nitrosamines that are linked to formation of cancer cells. The sulfur compounds are also known for their anti-proliferative activity that help in inhibiting development of cancer tumors. Laboratory studies suggest that garlic can help in reducing risks of developing lung, skin, colon, breast, uterine and esophagus cancers.
Parsley contains compounds known as polyacetylenes that inhibit production of prostaglandins that are known to increase the risk of cancer. Furthermore, it is a source of potent anti-cancer compounds called coumarins. Parlsey is a rich source of antioxidant flavonoids that help in reducing free radical induced cell damage that are associated with development of cancer cells.
The anti-cancer activity of mint is primarily attributed to the antioxidant activity of the phenolic phytochemicals present in the culinary herb. It is rich in salicylic acid, which helps in lowering risk of colorectal cancer. Moreover, mint contains a compound called limonene that helps in lowering risk of breast cancer.
Dill is a source of compounds called monoterpenes that help in stimulating production of an enzyme that helps in neutralizing free radicals. Furthermore, dill helps in promoting detoxification that helps in eliminating carcinogens from the body.