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When you think of India, you might get an image of a centenarian yogi blissfully practicing Ayurveda. Unless, of course, you’ve actually been to India, in which case you might be more inclined to think of overpopulation and pedestrian traffic jams. Nonetheless, the rates of prostate cancer in India are among the lowest in the world. The link between diet and cancer is pretty well established, so traditional Indian cuisine bears closer scrutiny. Indian cuisine emphasizes veggies and fruits as part of a well-balanced diet, but it also makes frequent use of herbs and spices, particularly turmeric. This spice is also used in Ayurvedic medicine.
Turmeric and Curcumin For Prostate Cancer Treatment
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a vibrantly yellow spice. In fact, it’s often used as a colorant for mustards and cheeses. The root is powdered for use in Indian curries and other dishes.
The primary active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is a potent antioxidant. Curcumin also has anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers have also been examining its anti-cancer effects. Curcumin has been associated with cancer prevention and tumor suppression, particularly in cancers of the prostate, breast, skin, and colon. Use of turmeric for prostate cancer has been the subject of numerous studies.
Does Turmeric Work for Prostate Cancer?
The efficacy of turmeric in preventing and treating cancer, including prostate cancer, has been the subject of numerous scientific studies. Furthermore, turmeric may also work particularly well with hormone therapy for prostate cancer, as it may reduce the rate at which cancer cells become resistant to that treatment.
One study, published in the September, 2009 edition of Cancer Science, concluded that even a synthetic form of curcumin was effective in causing the death of prostate cancer cells.
Another study was published in the January, 2003 edition of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics that proposed the combination of curcumin and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand immunotherapy as an effective means of treating prostate cancer.
Shaking some extra spice on your meals might help, but it isn’t an excuse to neglect your veggies. Researchers at Rutgers have found that combining turmeric with certain vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer, as well as greatly reduce the growth of tumors. The researchers ran tests that used turmeric and phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), which is a substance that is found in high concentrations in veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, turnips, cabbage, winter cress, and watercress.
In addition, turmeric has been shown to lower PSA levels. Dr. Shigeo Horie of Teikyo University in Japan conducted a study that examined the link between turmeric and reduced PSA levels. The study followed patients who did not have prostate cancer, but did have high PSA levels. After six months of using turmeric, the PSA levels of the patients dropped by 50%.
How to Use Turmeric
Turmeric is a delicious spice that is easy to incorporate into your cooking, even if you have no experience with Indian cuisine. Grab a bag of frozen veggies to complement your main course. Saute them with a dash of olive oil and shake some turmeric on them, along with any other spices you desire.
Despite its deliciousness, it might be a little tedious to eat turmeric every day. You can also use turmeric supplements to prevent or treat prostate cancer.
Considerations To Take Into Account When Using Turmeric For Prostate Cancer
Always talk to your doctor before adding a supplement to your daily routine if you have prostate cancer or if you are being treated for any other medical condition. If you are already undergoing prostate cancer treatment, like chemotherapy or immunotherapy, it’s crucial to complete the course of treatment. Tell your surgeon about taking turmeric if you plan to undergo surgery, as turmeric may work like a blood thinner.