This popular curry ingredient may help fight dangerous tumors

With the disconcerting rise in life-threatening conditions like diabetes, heart disease and various forms of cancer across the United States, the traditional Western diet has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years. Because rates of these illnesses vary among different cultures, medical researchers and nutritionists have launched investigations to determine whether specific ingredients often used in these countries may play a part in the disparity.

Curcumin has proved to be just such a miracle worker. This compound is found in turmeric, an aromatic spice that has been a staple in Indian cuisine for centuries, and is known for its rich gold color. Countless health benefits have been attributed to this antioxidant-rich food, so much so that it has finally caught the attention of the Western medical community.

Researchers from Munich's Ludwig-Maximilians Universitat (LMU) in Germany, for example, have conducted multiple studies to establish if curcumin – which has demonstrated anti-inflammatory capabilities – may be able to rein in the development of certain invasive cancer cells. Last month, LMU's Dr. Beatrice  Bachmeier led her second investigation into the effect of curcumin on potentially lethal metastatic tumors.

Previously, Dr. Bachmeier had documented that curcumin could restrict the spread of these cells in women with breast cancer. Since breast and prostate cancer both bring on inflammatory responses, she theorized that curcumin could have a similar effect on the latter, which is the second most common form of cancer in American men – as well.

Ultimately, Dr. Bachmeier and her research team discovered that this curry-based element had a significant effect on cell growth for both cancers, and may come to play an important role in the treatment of each. It may also be able to reduce the risk of developing these tumors.

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