By Bharat B. Aggarwal, Experience Life
When I was growing up in India, spices were not just a part of every meal, they were the main medicines my family used for everyday healing. My mother cooked with brilliant yellow turmeric powder daily, but she’d also sprinkle it on a cut when I hurt myself. Or put it on my forehead when I had a fever. If I was nauseated, my mother gave me ginger to make me feel better. If I couldn’t sleep, she gave me coriander in warm milk.
Now, as a professor in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, spices are the subject of many experiments in my laboratory.
It was at this lab, almost 20 years ago, that I discovered that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is effective against cancer. Today, my colleagues and I are working to discover the molecular and biochemical secrets behind the therapeutic power of so many other healing spices. We are striving to harness that power in the battle against cancer and other chronic diseases.
Many people talk about including whole foods — such as vegetables, legumes and fruits — in one’s diet, but the real secret to preventing disease and prolonging life is a diet rich in whole foods and spices.
To get you started, here are five easy-to-find spices I hope you’ll begin cooking with more often, starting today. May they and other spices become a friend to your health — and the pride of your kitchen!