Cancer-Fighting Foods: Start With Spices
Here's one of the easiest ways to protect you and your cells from cancer: Make like Martha Stewart and reorganize your spice cabinet. Not alphabetically (we said "easy"). Just put these seasonings in the front row: pepper, oregano, rosemary, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and garlic. While you're at it, put the salt way in the back. These magnificent 7 (you have to be our ages to understand that reference) are on a list of at least 41 spices believed to deter various kinds of cancer. Since you probably have these promising tumor zappers in your kitchen, if they're front and center, you'll likely start using them. That's the goal. Don't like oregano? Try these substitutes.
South Asian countries, which use far, far more spices than we do, also have far lower cancer rates. Coincidence? We think not. Spices, like all plant-based foods, are one of the easiest ways to fight cancer. A fiesta of lab studies is working to pin down the spicy substances that have it in for cancer cells. But don't wait. Add a little spice to your life and you may add more birthdays, too.
- Pepper's hot stuff because it contains pungent piperine, which goes into search-and-destroy mode when breast stem cells are trying to turn cancerous.
- We're big fans of turmeric (think yellow mustard and curry) because it's full of curcumin. In labs, curcumin has such a stellar track record for shutting down pancreatic cancer cells and turning off colon cancer that three more studies on people are starting. Curcumin is why Dr. Mike walks around with a mustard packet in his pocket; he squirts it onto a salad or sandwich and gets his daily dose.