Curries Health Benefits and Ingredients

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Curries Health Benefits and Ingredients

Yellow Curry Powder (Photo Attributed to Author: Thomas Steiner)

Curry Powder is a popular spice mix that has a number of valuable health benefits, including the prevention of cancer, protection against heart disease, reduction of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, ease from pain and inflammation, boosting bone health, protecting the immune system from bacterial infections,  and increasing the liver’s ability to remove toxins from the body.

Curry powder originated in South Asian and Indian cuisines. However, during the 19th and 20th centuries, when it was discovered by colonial visitors to the East, it soon gained immense popularity and large scale exportation of curry to the West began. By the middle of the 20th century, with the global popularization of Indian cuisine, which relies heavily on curries, the tasty spicy powder became even more readily available all around the world.

Curries Health Benefits and Ingredients

First of all, “What are the Ingredients in Curries?”

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 it.

The most nutritionally beneficial ingredients of curry powder, which are common to almost all curries, are turmeric, coriander, cardamom, cumin, sweet basil, and hot red chili pepper.

(Photo Attributed to Author: Breville, USA)

(Photo Attributed to Author: Breville, USA)

Some other ingredients are occasionally added, depending on the specific recipe and/or cultures preparing them.

Among these additional ingredients are fennel seeds, fenugreek, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, tamarind, or mustard seeds, all of which have individual health benefits.

This post will focus mostly on the health benefits of the primary and commonly used ingredients, but for more information on many of the other “occasional” curry powder spice ingredients, please refer to This Post.

And Now, for the Many the Health Benefits:

Cancer Prevention: Recent scientific studies have indicated that increasing the amount of curcumin (the primary turmeric active ingredient in turmeric) can promote anti-cancer activity in human saliva. The amount you would need to take is much higher than that found in curry powder, in order to create this anti-cancer force in your mouth, so taking a supplement would be necessary.

Even so, the amount of curcumin in curry powder certainly is adding to your body’s ability to fight against cancer. Ongoing studies are now also beginning to connect the consumption of curry powder to a reduction in various activities in the human body, including cancerous growths. Perhaps the most promising signs of consuming the turmeric found in curry powder is the indication that it acts to decrease the possibility of colon cancer.

Relief from Pain and Inflammation: If you are someone who turns to the pharmaceutical pain reliever, ibuprofen, you may want to simply eat more curry powder. Or at least turmeric, to get the curcumin in your system. This natural remedy is proving to be an agent of positive health in terms of reducing pain due to joint inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis.

Alzheimer’s Disease: The health benefits of curcumin just keep on coming. Research has connected curcumin to a reduction in plaque that builds up in the neural pathways of the brain—this plaque is deposited there by free Cerebro_corte_frontal_Alzheimerradicals. Curcumin stimulates the body’s immune system to eradicate the amino acids which are what the plaque is composed of.

With the reduction of the plaque, cognitive decline is also reduced, and the odds of having advanced Alzheimer’s Disease is commensurately reduced. Researchers are encouraged by what they have discovered so far, and are pointing to the people of India, who have comparatively much lower rates of Alzheimer’s that the rest of the world. The belief is that this lower rate is at least in some measure attributable to their having curry powder as a main ingredient in their cuisine for millennia.

Heart Health: Two ingredients that are typically found in curry powders are sweet basil and cardamom. Both of

(Photo Attributed to Author: Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator)

(Photo Attributed to Author: Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator)

these have been identified as vasodilators. As such, they affect proteins in the body that reduce tension in blood vessels.

This results in a reduction in blood pressure, which in turn reduces the odds of contracting many cardiovascular conditions. Vasodilators play a significant role in staving off strokes, heart attacks, and atherosclerosis. So, when you include some curry in your diet, you can feel assured that it is doing its part in keeping you free from one of the most dangerous and common diseases that afflict human beings.

Bone Health: Curry powder may also prove to be beneficial in promoting good, strong bones. Its turmeric content is being researched with regard to bone health and fighting osteoporosis.

Human testing is still in its early stages, however, a large volume of tests on animals have produced results which shows turmeric to reduce signs of bone loss by up to 50 percent, as well as greatly increase the speed of bone connectivity, repair, and regrowth. As the body ages, this kind of nutritional help becomes increasingly important. Taking curry in your regular diet, in addition to a normal dietary regimen of healthy amounts of essential minerals and vitamins, will definitely assist you in keeping good, strong bones.

Liver Toxicity: Curcumin, definitely the “All-Star” ingredient in curry powder, which is provided by the turmeric, also has been related maintaining a healthy liver, free from excess toxicity. It does this by inhibiting the expression of certain genes which lead to inflammation, tumor growth, and cancer in the liver.

Antibacterial Activity: One more very beneficial ingredient included in the majority of curry powders worldwideAntibacterial Activity is coriander. Coriander has a well-researched and documented ability to fight off bacterial infections, including damaging intestinal infections, and most notably even the deadly E. coli infection. Including a healthy amount of curry powder in your regular diet will work to increase the overall health of your digestive system, as well as help to keep your immune system strong in its fight against bacterial agents.

A Few Words of Caution Regarding Curries Health Benefits and Ingredients: Curry Powder is delicious, no question about it. And it can be a nutritious inclusion in a person’s diet. However, there are just a couple potentially harmful side effects, depending on your constitution.

Curry powder is well established as an anti-coagulant. Therefore, if you are already taking blood thinners, you definitely should consult with your physician and/or nutritionist to determine what (if any) amount of curry is safe for you to take on a regular basis.

Also, for people with pre-existing gallbladder conditions, caution should be exercised. Curry tends to stimulate gallbladder contractions, which is good for people with healthy gallbladders, but can post a problem for people with unhealthy gallbladders. To them it can be an irritant, and for people with bile ducts or gallstones, it can produce intense pain. Again, consult with your physician if you have such a condition.

Aside from those very few issues, hey – put some spice in your life and enjoy curries health benefits and ingredients in your daily diet!

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6 thoughts on “Curries Health Benefits and Ingredients

  1. Good info to know, and thanks, Old Silly. TG my hubby and me don’t have any of the physical problems that would make eating curry a problem, cuz we both LOVE curry dishes!

  2. Super info, dude! Love me some curry dishes, but I was a bit worried if they were all that good for me. So I was Googling and came across this post.

    Thanks for all the research and info, and I got this site bookmarked – will be back, cuz I love ethnic foods and WOW – there’s a bazillion recipes here!

  3. Well thanks so much for this very thorough article on curries health benefits and ingredients, Marv. I had no idea some of them, especially the cancer cure and Alzheimer’s!?

    Good thing I like curry, and I don’t have gallbladder problems or blood thinning prescriptions, so I can indulge all I want, lol.

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