Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fighting Cancer With Curry

As I was sitting in the kitchen at 7 am, thinking about what to write about today, Jenna shared her excitement with me about the fact that the "The East-Indian Lady" might be at the Farmer's Market today. We don't know the east indian lady's name, but we are huge fans of her and the food she makes and sells. She comes to the Kamloops Farmer's Market every two weeks from Revelstoke a sells pakoras, samosas, chutney and a whole bunch of sauces and dips that you can take home.

So there we go, I have my topic for today: Turmeric! It is the most powerful anti-inflammatory food ingredient there is! It has been written about in medical texts in China, India, Tibet and the Middle-East for over two thousand years. The important molecule in terms of inhibiting cancer is curcumin. Beyond the anti-inflammatory effect, it has several other capabilities that affect different mechanisms of cancer growth. If you want a better understanding of some of these mechanisms or cancer in general, I recommend the book 'Anticancer - a new way of life' by David Servan-Schreiber M.D., Ph.D.
In India people consume, on average, 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric a day. They are generally exposed to more environmental carcinogens than us , yet here are some surprising stats from the Anticancer book: "...Indians have one eighth as many lung cancers as Westerners of the same age, one ninth as many colon cancers, one fifth as many breast cancers, one tenth as many kidney cancers, and one fiftieth (yes 1/50!) our rate of prostate cancer". Kudos to our brothers and sisters in India!
There was a study done in 2005 on mice who no longer responded to Chemotherapy with Taxol (while Taxol is considered effective against metastatic breast cancer, it actually works in less than 1/2 of cases). In the study, curcumin reduced the spread of metastases impressively and any micro tumors that could still be found did not grow and were therefore no longer a threat.
Here's the deal though: you are actually better off eating delicious indian food than taking capsules of only curcumin. Researchers in Taiwan found out that it's not absorbed by your intestines very well unless it is mixed with pepper or ginger. In fact pepper increases the body's absorption of turmeric by 2000 percent!
Ok, I say it's time for a stroll down to the Farmer's Market. I am ready for some delicious Indian food for breakfast!

The beautiful ladies at Pam's Curry stand at the Kamloops Farmer's Market.

My friend Will and I enjoying delicious pakoras and chutney. Yum!


  1. Hey Flo! Jenna mentioned you were writing a blog, so i checked it out, and so far i really enjoy it. Are you open for suggestions for topics?

    Indian food = yummy and healthy. Nadine is actually planning a trip to India in the winter... cooking classes a main agenda. To really learn to make good indian food one needs to learn 'art' behind it all...

  2. Hey Steve, thanks for the comment! I totally welcome comments, suggestions and feedback. It seems to me that this blog thing should be about communication and sharing...
    Wow, going to India and taking cooking classes will be an amazing experience I am sure!