Curry Powder is a popular spice mix that has a number of valuable health benefits, including the prevention of cancer, protection against heart disease, reduce Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, ease pain and inflammation, boost bone health, protect the immune system from bacterial infections, and increase the liver’s ability to remove toxins from the body.
Curry powder is made up of numerous ingredients, and depending on the region of the world, they can change slightly, which can also alter the specific health benefits that may be derived from the powder. The most common and advantageous ingredients of curry powder are turmeric, coriander, cardamom, cumin, sweet basil, and red pepper. Some other ingredients that are occasionally added, depending on the specific recipe, are fennel seeds, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, or mustard seeds, all of which have individual health benefits. We will focus on the benefits from the most traditional form of curry powder.
Curry powder is native to South Asian cuisines, but was popularized in the 19th and 20th century to the tables of the western world due to the mass exportation of the powder as a condiment after it was discovered by troops and other colonial visitors to the East. In the mid-20th century, Indian cuisine became more globally popular, so curry, and subsequently curry powder, became widely available.
Health Benefits of Curry Powder
Alzheimer’s Disease: Turmeric is probably the most valuable spice component of curry powder, and one of the organic components of turmeric is called curcumin. Researchers have connected curcumin to a reduction in the plaque that free radicals deposit in the neural pathways of the brain. It stimulates the immune system to eliminate the amino acids that make up this plaque, thereby reducing cognitive decline and the chances of Alzheimer’s disease. Ongoing studies are trying to more firmly connect curry powder consumption with rates of Alzheimer’s in India, which is significantly lower than many other countries.
Cancer Prevention: Recent research has suggested that increasing the amount of turmeric (and more importantly, its component of curcumin) can stimulate anti-cancer activity in human saliva! For this to be seen on a measurable scale, curcumin should probably be taken in supplement form, which is a much higher concentration that what is found in curry powder, but every little bit helps, and studies are ongoing to connect consumption of curry powder to a reduction in various cancerous growths and activities in the human body. The most promising signs of consumption of curry powder containing turmeric decreasing cancer is in colon cancer!
Pain Relief and Inflammation: Once again, turmeric is an agent of positive health in terms of inflammation, pain, and rheumatoid arthritis! The anti-inflammatory qualities of turmeric actively decrease joint inflammation and deterioration, as well as associated pain of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. The effects of turmeric have been shown to be comparable to ibuprofen, but organic solutions are always better than artificial of pharmaceutical ones!
Heart Health: Heart disease is one of the most dangerous and common diseases that affect human beings, so anything that can help prevent it is a bonus! Two of the ingredients commonly found in curry powder are cardamom and sweet basil, both of which have been characterized as vasodilators. They affect the proteins in the body that reduce the tension in the blood vessels. This leads to a reduction in blood pressure, which reduces the chances of many cardiovascular conditions, including atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
Bone Health: Curry powder and its turmeric content is also being studied in terms of osteoporosis and bone health. Although human testing is still in its early stages, significant amounts of animal testing have shown turmeric to greatly increase the speed of bone regrowth, connectivity, and repair, while reducing signs of bone loss by up to 50%. This could mean a very powerful boost to your bones, particularly as you age, in addition to a normal dietary regimen packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
Antibacterial Activity: A final beneficial element found in the majority of curry powder throughout the world is coriander, which has a well-researched penchant for fighting off bacterial infections, particularly E. coli and other severely damaging intestinal infections. Therefore, eating a healthy amount of curry powder can increase the health of your digestive system, and keep your immune system strong in its defense against bacterial agents.
Liver Toxicity: Curcumin, that all-important component of turmeric, also has been connected to the health of your liver. It inhibits the expression of certain genes that lead to inflammation, cancer, and tumor growth in the liver. Although human testing is still in its nascent stages, animal testing has shown a healthy amount of curry powder and curcumin to be a major boost against liver diseases and excess liver toxicity.
A Few Words of Warning: Curry Powder is a delicious and nutritious aspect of a person’s diet, but it also poses a few potential side effects. Curry powder is a well known anti-coagulant, so if you already take blood thinners, you should consult with your doctor to eliminate any dangers of excessive bleeding. Also, some research has shown curry powder to be an irritant to the gallbladder or to people with preexisting gallbladder conditions. It stimulates gallbladder contractions, which are good for people with healthy gallbladders, but can be very painful for those with gallstones or obstructed bile ducts.
Other than those few issues, put some spice in your life with curry powder and enjoy all the health benefits you will gain!