Curry is a Southeast Asian spice that has gained popularity across the globe. While its bold flavour, aroma, and colour have made this spice recognizable, it’s the health benefits of curry that make this a good reason to liven up your food.
Curry powder comes from the leaves of the curry tree (Murraya koenigii). The tree is native to India and Sri Lanka, but curry powder is actually a mixture of spices blended together. Labeling this mixture of spices as curry is a result of East India Company, and has been used since the 1700s. It is now exported and can be found in most any supermarket. Curry leaf, turmeric, coriander, and cumin are the main spices found in curry. Many other ingredients can be found in the mix including fenugreek, black pepper, bay leaves, celery seed, nutmeg, cloves, onion, red pepper, and ginger to name but a few.
Most of the health benefits of curry come from the turmeric, and not the actual curry leaf. Even more specifically, most of the health benefits of curry come from curcumin, the main curcuminoid found in turmeric. Turmeric is a perennial plant and member of the ginger family. It’s notable for its bright yellow colour. Curcumin is responsible for this colouring, and is what gives curry its bold hue.
Health Benefits Of Curry
One of the best-studied health benefits of curry is its effect on cancer and tumor growth. Curcumin has anti-tumor effects. This curcuminoid can suppress the growth, and actually, shrink tumors. This is because of the intense anti-inflammatory principles. Curcumin can also cause apoptosis of cancer cells. This is an incredible finding. Finding a natural cancer killer may be a key step to finding a healthier way to cure cancer. Curcumin could be a good way to prevent cancer formation and growth.
Curry leaves have also been shown to reduce the size of tumors. That’s why curry could be an important addition to the diet of cancer patients. Two ingredients of curry powder reduce tumor size. This is not to say that curry, or even curcumin supplements, will cure cancer on its own. It can help with other cancer treatments, but at this point, there is no proof that curcumin alone can cure cancer.
The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin have also shown to suppress food related allergies. This is because anti-inflammatory foods help promote healthy intestinal walls. This means that curry can help prevent leaky gut. With healthy intestinal walls, there will be fewer food particles passing through your gut lining, causing irritation and allergic responses. Healthy intestinal walls also help ensure proper nutrient absorption.
One of the male-specific health benefits of curry is that it can be good for male cardiovascular health. Studies showed that after consuming curry, there was a marked improvement in men’s endothelial function. This isn’t surprising considering the strong anti-inflammatory nature of this spice.
Curcumin has the potential to block neurodegenerative diseases. There haven’t been enough studies to show curcumin’s effects on specific diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, but early studies do show a protective property in curcumin. This curcuminoid appears to protect the brain from damage and decay.
Curcumin is also packed with antioxidants, and it can relieve arthritis.
Not all of the health benefits of curry come from the curcumin. Curry leaves themselves are a rich source of natural antioxidants. These antioxidants have been shown to greatly reduce lipid oxidation. This means your cells stay healthy and so do you.
There is a potential downside to curcumin. This amazing component of this popular spice may block conception. It inhibits sperm motility and viability, making men infertile. This is a serious side effect, but would require high doses of curcumin to have any significant effect. The amount of curcumin in curry will have no noticeable effect on sperm and male fertility. Be mindful if you’re taking a curcumin supplement, as high doses will have side effects.
To see the full potential of curcumin make sure it is paired with black pepper. Black pepper contains piperine, which increases the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%.
Now that you know all of the health benefits of curry go ahead and spice up your life.