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Gang up ginger-chili to cut cancer risk

Some earlier research has suggested that capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their kick, might cause cancer.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: If you are a lover of sweat-inducing spicy food, then here's a good news for you! A recent research has revealed that the combination of ginger and chili pepers in your diet prevents the growth of cancerous tumor. Both of these spices provide an array of health benefits- from boosting immunity to regulating blood sugar.

Some earlier research has suggested that capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their kick, might cause cancer.

Now American Chemical Society researchers have shown in mouse studies that the pungent compound in ginger, 6-gingerol, could counteract capsaicin's potentially harmful effects. In combination with the capsaicin, 6-gingerol could lower the risk of cancer, they say.

Both chili peppers and ginger are widely used spices in certain cuisines, particularly in Asia, and have been studied for potential health effects.

Although some studies have shown that peppers can have benefits, others suggest that diets rich in capsaicin might be associated with stomach cancer. Ginger, however, has shown promise as a health-promoting ingredient.

Oddly enough, capsaicin and 6-gingerol both bind to the same cellular receptor, one that is related to tumor growth.

Researchers Jiahuan Li, Gangjun Du and colleagues wanted to further investigate this apparent contradiction.

Over several weeks, the researchers fed mice prone to lung cancer either capsaicin or 6- gingerolalone, or a combination of both.

During the study period, all of the mice that received only capsaicin developed lung carcinomas while only half of the mice fed 6-gingerol did.

Surprisingly, an even lower percentage, only 20 percent of the mice given both compounds developed cancer. The researchers also dug into the potential molecular underpinnings of how the compounds interact to lead to this effect.

This study has been published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

(With ANI inputs)

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