Nutrition and Healing
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  • Pricey spice provides protection

    It’s known as the world’s most expensive spice (0.06 ounce-jars go for almost 20 bucks). It adds a beautiful yellow hue and delicious flavor to rice and other dishes.

    I’m talking about saffron–extracted from the stigmas of crocus flowers and then dried. It’s a must when making paella–and it could become essential to protecting your body from one of the more common cancers threatening our lives.

    Liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in the world.

    Among its other causes, liver cancer has been linked to DEN, an environmental carcinogen found in tobacco smoke, makeup, gasoline, and processed foods (even basic dairy and meat products).

    Researchers working at the United Arab Emirates University decided to focus on DEN for a study that appears in the September issue of Hepatology. Previously, saffron has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. So, it seemed like a natural fit for their study.

    The researchers used DEN to induce lesions in rats that mimic both benign and malignant tumors in humans. They then began a treatment with saffron.

    And saffron seemed to do the job. They found that the spice reduced the number and incidence of tumors in the rats. In the rats that got the largest doses, cancer was actually completely inhibited. And those who received pre-treatment were protected from the development of cancer cells.

    Overall, the researchers determined that saffron promotes cell death and blocks cancer cells from spreading. They’re conducting further studies now.

    Of course, saffron is already available in nearly every grocery store. And there are saffron supplements already being sold to help elevate mood and relieve stress. No dosage information is yet available since saffron hasn’t be studied in connection with liver cancer in humans, but I’ll keep my eye out on further word. In the meantime, you can of course talk to a doctor skilled in natural medicine about the existing supplements.

    Sources:
    “Saffron shows promise in preventing liver cancer,” Medical Xpress (www.medicalxpress.com)

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