Should we consider his spice cabinet as a pharmacy? Here are the latest news on spices and their effects on health.
Turmeric Aagainst Cancer
There would be some consensus in the scientific community that turmeric would explain the huge differences in the rates of some cancers in India and Western countries. For example, in men, there would be eight times more colon cancers in the United States than in India. It is curcumin, which gives yellow color to turmeric, which would be responsible for anticancer properties. And even if curcumin is poorly absorbed by the body, it can be increased more than 1000 times in the presence of pepper piperine … and pepper has always been an essential constituent of curry.
A bright yellow product, turmeric comes from a dried rhizome of the plant Curcuma longa, from the same family as ginger. Considered a sacred spice in India and Indonesia, turmeric has always been an important part of the culinary and medicinal tradition of these countries. The Indians consume an average of 1.5 to 2 g per day, equivalent to about ½ to 1 c. tea. Indeed, turmeric is part of the mix of curry spices. Chinese medicine also uses it for its beneficial properties on health.
According to Gregory Cole, Associate Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of California, turmeric could possibly have beneficial effects in the treatment of brain diseases, but further research is still needed. Adding turmeric to rice cooking water, chicken broth, mayonnaise, or using curry is a simple and safe way to increase curcumin intake and take advantage of its effects. without forgetting pepper!
Cinnamon, Rich in Antioxidants
Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of Cinnamomum verum or cinnamon. It is very appreciated for its scented flavor and its medicinal properties, and this, since ancient times. In Tibetan, it is called Shing-tsha or “spicy wood”. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in July 2006, ground cinnamon is ranked fourth among the 50 foods with the most antioxidants per 100 g serving. And even if 100 g of cinnamon equals 50 teaspoons, the usual portion of cinnamon (1 teaspoon) is still quite concentrated in antioxidants to make a significant contribution to our daily diet.
In addition to its content of polyphenols (antioxidants), cinnamon is rich in fiber. Fiber is more than half of its weight: 5 ml of cinnamon contains 1.3 g of fiber. It also contains iron and manganese, a mineral that helps prevent the damage caused by free radicals.
Benefits For Diabetics
Several studies have shown that small amounts of cinnamon can increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose in people with diabetes. In fact, as little as 1 g (about 2 ml or ½ teaspoon) would lower blood glucose by 30%. The active ingredient in cinnamon, polyphenols, would increase insulin sensitivity, either by stimulating the cell to respond to the insulin signal to remove glucose from the bloodstream. Blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels would also be reduced; possibly because insulin plays a key role in regulating fat in the body. This was demonstrated by Richard Anderson and colleagues at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Diet, Genomics and Immunology Lab in a 2003 study of 60 subjects with diabetes.
A little cinnamon on the morning oatmeal, in the bowl of granola or on the milk froth of the coffee can not hurt and adds taste. But it should not be exaggerated because a compound of cinnamon, coumarin can be toxic in high doses and cinnamon oil is particularly rich. So in the case of supplements, we stick to those containing water-based extracts. In addition, cinnamon supplements should not be consumed without the advice of the doctor, there may be possibility of interactions with certain drugs.
Ginger Against Nausea
Zingiber officinale or ginger is a rhizome used for more than 6000 years in Asia, among others for the treatment of upset stomach, diarrhea and nausea.
Ginger does have a soothing effect on nausea and vomiting. Since 1991, four noteworthy studies have established the efficacy and safety of ginger (powdered or extract) in the treatment of morning sickness in pregnant women. It is recommended to stick to the equivalent of 2 g of dried ginger or 10 g of fresh ginger a day. Ginger would probably work by blocking serotonin receptors in the intestinal tract by preventing serotonin from going in and thus causing nausea. In addition, there are no scientific data that allow Health Canada to contraindicate the absorption of ginger during pregnancy. And the Canadian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada agrees, insofar as the dose does not exceed 1000 milligrams of ground ginger per day. Point to point out, there could theoretically be a possibility of interactions with certain medications prescribed to cardiac people.
So, it is possible to believe that daily use of turmeric, cinnamon and ginger is a simple, fast and economical way to benefit from their health effects while adding flavor and exoticism to our diet. Long live the curry … which contains the three “famous” spices!