News / Health

    Study: Spicier Diet Could Help Fight Cancer

    While researchers around the world continue searching for new and better treatments for various forms of cancer, they are also finding more evidence that simple changes in diet and lifestyle can, in many cases, prevent the disease. The effects of smoking are well established, but many doctors now say bad eating habits, lack of exercise, obesity and stressful living can also be big risk factors.  One researcher thinks adding a little spice to your diet could also help.

    In a research laboratory at Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Clinic, Bharat Aggarwal has been studying the medicinal use of spices, like the turmeric he grew up eating in his native India.

    Spice of Life

    "These spices have been used day in and day out as a meat preservative and these spices are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-virus," said Aggarwal.

    Much of his research focuses on curcumin, a natural substance used to make turmeric, a chief ingredient in curry sauces, which has been shown to be effective in reducing cancerous tumors.

    While some doctors scoffed at the notion of using a spice to treat cancer, Aggarwal persisted.  And now, he says, other researchers are also showing good results.

    "There were at least half a dozen clinical trials that appeared last year alone on curcumin, where as little as 100 milligrams is enough to down modulate all the inflammatory bio-markers in people; we are not talking about rats or mice or anything," Aggarwal added.

    But Aggarwal is the first to say that neither curcumin nor any other food provides a "magic bullet" to stop cancer. He advocates moderation in diet and lifestyle and the consumption of a variety of natural foods.

    "There are 800 different kinds of food items out there, 800!  An average American eats no more than 10.  So variety is the name of the game," Aggarwal noted.

    That is the same approach being taken by Atlanta chef Hans Rueffert, who demonstrated his salad-making skills at a recent Cancer Survivorship Conference in Houston.

    Rueffert is a big believer in using fresh ingredients and borrowing from every type of cuisine.

    "I think any good chef is constantly learning about different cultures, different cuisines and you sort of take the best of each one," Rueffert explained.

    But Rueffert is especially interested in healthy eating because he, too, is a cancer survivor, having lost his stomach and part of his esophagus to the disease.  He acknowledges the irony, but he says that also gives his message more impact.

    "I know what radiation is like. I know what chemo is like. I know what surgeries are like.  So when I am up there and talking about how these foods benefit you, I am not reading from some book... to know that is to live that; and I have lived that," said Rueffert.

    Diet vs Gene Therapy

    Bharat Aggarwal thinks investigating the chemicals in foods and spices will do more to prevent cancer than expensive research on genetic links.

    "These genes are going to be with us no matter what," said Aggarwal.  "So we are not going to be able to fix those, but that is where all the money is going into."

    Aggarwal notes that spices like curcumin have long been known to promote health.

    "The natural compound is working very well and it has been used for thousands of years and it is very inexpensive," Aggarwal added.

    And expense is an important consideration as the United States faces budgetary struggles and an aging population of so-called "baby boomers" who are going to need more medical care in the years ahead.

    You May Like

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Will New Russian Force Be 'Putin’s Personal Army'?

    With broad powers to control riots, suppress dissent, National Guard may be aimed at sending a message to West as much as keeping peace at home

    Foreign Media in Pyongyang Barred From North Korean Party Congress

    Hundreds of international journalists invited to cover historic party meeting barred from entering actual event

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora