Scientists in Malaysia have shown that common cooking spices may hold the key to protecting cells and helping to prevent the spread of cancer.
Many culinary spices are rich sources of antioxidants, which can help defend against cellular damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS, also known as free radicals). Their antioxidant benefits are due to the presence of a variety of phenols and ﬂavonoids.
The human body has many systems in place to deal with free radicals; however it has also been shown that a diet rich in antioxidant food products can enhance this innate protection.
Plant derived antioxidant compounds like curcumin, resveratrol and ﬂavonoids have demonstrated therapeutic potential, including anti-inﬂammatory, cell-protective and DNA protective properties.
In a recent laboratory study published in the journal Food Chemistry scientists investigated the effect of spices on DNA damage, which can be a trigger for cancer, as well as on cancer cell migration.
The researchers purchased 9 different spices at a local market. These were: Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)Star anise (Illicium verum)Pepper (Piper nigrum)Long pepper (Piper longum)Ginger (Zingiber ofﬁcinale)Clove (Eugenia carophyllata)Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)Caraway (Carum carvi)