Spices add zest to your dish, but did you know that some spices do more than that? Some spices give your body a boost, something we all need, as we grow older. One way to promote health is with curry, which studies have shown to have a positive effect on the body. So if you like curry, you probably have an edge over your contemporaries who don’t.
How can you promote health with curry?
There are many kinds of curry, which all include a combination of several spices. Yellow curry, the most common, contains turmeric, sweet basil, cardamom, coriander, and a host of other substances. Some of these spices have unsuspected curative powers. Let’s take each one in turn.
Turmeric is the main component of yellow curry that gives it its distinctive color. Turmeric also comes in supplement form. Its active component, curcumin, has been shown to be efficacious in preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease when taken with vitamin D3. Its action is on the immune system, preventing amino acid plaque from forming in the brain. It is also thought to prevent cancer by inducing the production of enzymes in the saliva that kill cancer cells.
Another way to promote health with curry is using turmeric as an anti-inflammatory. A comparative study of curcumin and ibuprofen suggest a similar effect on relieving joint and muscle pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
A final health benefit of turmeric is prevention of bone loss. Women who reach menopause often suffer from bone deterioration and turmeric is believed to prevent that by as much as 50%. It is clearly the superstar of the curry spices.
It should be noted, however, that an excess of turmeric in the system could be harmful. Before taking it in concentrated form, consult your doctor. It is also contraindicated for those on blood-thinning medication because turmeric retards the formation of blood clots.
Sweet basil and cardamom
Another way to promote health with curry is through these two other components. Sweet basil has long been used by herbalists to reduce hypertension, by restricting the level of amino acids that cause blood vessels to constrict. Cardamom is also thought to have the same effect.
Aside from being a great spice to add to fish or chicken, coriander is also an anti-toxin. Also found in curry, coriander can kill some of the harmful bacteria that may be present in food, such as E coli.
Spicing up your Health
Curry is widely used in many cuisines, especially in India. It is interesting to note that the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease in India is only 25% that of the US. It seems then that it would be a good idea to cultivate the taste for curry in the food. At any rate, all the spices mentioned are available separately and may be used in other food. In the case of turmeric, it can be taken as a supplement. There are more ways to promote health with curry than eating Indian food, but perhaps none as tasty.