Only 10 percent of cancers are the result of genetic mutations. The remaining 90 percent arise from lifestyle and environmental factors. Diet, obesity, tobacco, alcohol, sedentary lifestyle and environmental toxins are the main culprits. This provides us with an incredible opportunity to modify our risk!
Of modifiable risks, diet remains one of the most significant. In fact, we can reduce our risk of developing cancer by as much as 30 percent just by adopting healthy eating habits. And one of the tastiest eating habits to develop is adding more culinary herbs and spices to our meals.
Leverage the power of polyphenols
The herbs and spices used in cooking to add flavor not only excite our taste buds, they also deliver potent messages to our cells. Spices are concentrated sources of polyphenols. Polyphenols are a big and diverse group of compounds in plants that have potent biological effects. Polyphenols can:
- Arrest blood supply to growing tumors
- Cause malignant cells to undergo suicide (a process called apoptosis)
- Slow down unregulated cell growth
- Stimulate cytotoxic and innate immunity (critical cancer-fighting immunity)
- Restore optimal hormone sensitivity
- Reduce blood levels of glucose (sugar) and associated insulin
Polyphenols are a big reason why a diet full of vegetables and fruits is so important in cancer prevention. And it’s also why spices are an essential cancer-fighting strategy. While there is typically only a small amount of spice in the food you eat, the polyphenols are so concentrated in spices, that dietary consumption of spices can improve your health and increase your defenses against cancer.
Add spices to as many meals as you can
So, we say, spice it up! Try one of the following five tips to spice up your daily diet.
- Add cinnamon to your morning coffee. It's yummy and cinnamon specifically helps to stabilize your blood sugar
- Add cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and/or allspice to your morning oatmeal, yogurt or smoothie. These spices will add an antioxidant punch to your breakfast
- Eat curry! Curry contains many healthful spices including turmeric, coriander, cumin, pepper, and ginger. All of these spices are potent cancer-fighters and specifically work to turn off the master switch of inflammation, NF-kB
- Marinate meat in olive oil with rosemary, sage, thyme, coriander, and garlic. This will not only enhance the flavor of your meat, but these spices will also reduce the formation of heterocyclic amines, potent cancer-causing compounds that occur when meat is cooked
- Empty your salt shaker of table salt and instead fill it up with a mixture of spices that you like. Sprinkle this spice mixture on the food that you would normally salt – meats, casseroles, beans, grains, salad. Let your imagination soar! Some spices you might want to try are: black pepper, cayenne pepper (if you like it hot!), celery seed, parsley, basil, marjoram, oregano, thyme, rosemary, cumin, mustard, and coriander. If you wish to have a little salt in the mixture, be sure to use unrefined sea salt
Enjoy your spiced up diet and know that with each bite, you are transforming your internal landscape towards greater health and away from chronic diseases like cancer!
Remember, food provides information to our cells. What message are you sending to your cells?