Study to Explore Using Herbs and Spices to Prevent Cancer Recurrence

A study being conducted by the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the University of Texas (UT) Health Science Center at San Antonio is recruiting breast cancer survivors to learn how certain foods including herbs and spices may help reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.

"What's been discovered is that the herbs and especially the spices part of the cuisine of other cultures, especially in the developing countries, have harbored anti-inflammatory compounds," said Dr. Michael Wargovich, study co-principal investigator and professor of molecular medicine at the Health Science Center in a Texas Public Radio article. He highlighted recent research that suggests chronic inflammation at the cellular level can increase future risks for cancer.

Although inflammation is a vital part of the healing process of wounds and infections, if inflammation becomes chronic, it actually causes illness, like cancer, according to a UT Health Science Center press release. Some beneficial anti-inflammatory foods are deep marine fish, dark leafy green vegetables, bright multi-colored vegetables, black and green teas, and many spices and herbs.

Breast cancer survivors who participate in the study will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. Each group will get different cancer nutrition tools like six cooking demonstrations by Chef Iverson Brownell, who creates innovative culinary recipes that taste great and promote health.

Dr. Amelie Ramirez, study co-principal, professor, and director of IHPR at the UT Health Science Center said there have been very few human studies with foods, especially spices.

"So in this particular study we are looking at the combination of things that the literature says reduce inflammation in our bodies," Ramirez said in the Texas Public Radio article. "That if we combine these foods with traditional foods that are more kind of a Mediterranean diet, where you use more olive oil and more fish but add more herbs and spices, we want to see if it's really going to impact in humans the reduction of inflammation that might be a [cancer] precursor."WF

Haley Chitty, is the director of communications at the American Herbal Products Association,

Posted July 18, 2014