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The Most Powerful Cell-Protecting Spices

The plant chemicals found in spices arrest the development, growth, and spread of many kinds of cancer, including liver, breast, stomach, colorectum, cervix, and prostate cancers. 

While all spices offer some health benefits, some spices have robust antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-modulating actions that make them powerful cancer-fighting add-ons to your meals.

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Turmeric. Curcumin is a polyphenolic compound that gives foods a unique flavor and yellow color. Animal and lab studies reveal curcumin kills cancer cells and prevents them from growing, make chemotherapy more effective, and protect healthy cells during treatment. 

Impacts: breast cancer, bowel cancer, and stomach cancer

Shows promise in head and neck, glioblastoma, lymphoma, leukemia, uterine, prostate, lung, and gall bladder cancer.

Tips for turmeric:

  • Sprinkle turmeric into your morning coffee
  • Combine turmeric with oil to increase absorption
  • Dust roasted cauliflower with turmeric

Ginger. Phenolic compounds like gingerols in ginger impart inflammation-busting properties. The flavor of ginger mellows with cooking is slightly peppery and sweet, and the ground form is not as strongly flavored as raw ginger. Clinical studies reveal ginger may impact chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. 

Impacts: breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer 

Shows promise in glioblastoma, lung cancer, and melanoma.

Tips for ginger:

  • Blenderize ginger into fresh vegetable juice
  • Add fresh ginger to salad dressings
  • Top butternut squash with ginger before baking

Garlic. Garlic contains sulfur compounds that possess the cancer-preventive potential and support a robust immune system. The more finely you chop garlic, the hotter and more pungent it will be. If you chop garlic with a bit of salt, you will produce the most robust flavor of all.

Impacts: breast, gastric, colorectal, and liver cancer

Shows promise in osteosarcoma, pancreatic, and bladder cancer.

Tips for garlic:

  • Add garlic last to sauteed dishes to prevent burning
  • Use a microplane when cutting garlic to release more plant chemical activity
  • Roast a large bulb of garlic and enjoy as a spread

Red chili pepper. Capsaicin is the active alkaloid chemical that gives red chili peppers their heat and creates a burning sensation when consumed. It is very heat stable and keeps its activity in cooking. Lab studies reveal capsaicin may reduce the metastatic capability of cancer cells. 

Impacts: lung, breast, gastric, gallbladder, and prostate cancer

Shows promise in leukemia, pancreatic, colorectal, and bladder cancer.

Tips for red chili pepper:

  • Add a pinch into scrambled eggs or scrambled tofu
  • Preserve fresh chilis in oil
  • Dry out chilis and pulverize into powder

Black pepper. Black pepper contains an alkaloid compound called piperine. In lab studies, piperine has slowed the growth and killed cancer cells. The best way to eat pepper to gain maximum health benefits is to eat freshly ground pepper and not cook it along with food. 

Impacts: breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer 

Shows promise in osteosarcoma and melanoma.

Tips for black pepper:

  • And a dash of black pepper to avocado toast
  • Try fresh strawberries sprinkled with black pepper
  • Encrust salmon fillets with black peppercorns

Tired of rummaging through all those spice bottles every time you cook? The Gneiss Company makes magnetic spice jars that bring a sense of artistry to any kitchen! We love the refill packs and magnetic wall plates for vertical spice storage.

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