Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cancer and spices.


Anonymous asked: "Do ginger, curry powder and cumin powder help reduce risk of any cancers? "

Disclaimer:  I am a food chemist and any medical comments are those of a food chemist.
Will anything prevent cancer?

No, probably not.  Cancer is not one disease but a diverse group of illnesses, all characterised by uncontrolled cell growth.  Cancerous cells are being produced all the time and the body deals with them.  The problems arise when the body can no longer deal with them.  This will be partly why cancers are more prevalent in the elderly; the body’s defences get weak, lazy or ineffective.

I believe that pretty much anything will cause cancer – if the body gets swamped with any chemical, systems can go awry.

But will anything prevent cancer?   I don’t believe so.  At least not any one thing.

Good diet and good health seem to be part of the cancer preventative thing :  be healthy, give your body a chance.  Let your body function as it should, defences work properly, cell reproduction work reliably.

I have little doubt that the individual components of ginger, cumin and curry powder will trigger cancers if taken in excess.  Anything taken at a level that distresses the body increases the likelihood of the body malfunctioning and cancers being the result.

But I really have no knowledge on compounds, natural or synthetic, that may directly work to prevent cancers.  And I think it unwise to pin your hopes on a 'silver bullet'.