Why Curry Can Cure
Two recent OSU studies—one from Oregon State University, the other from Ohio State University—show why curry can be good for you. Researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute in Oregon found that curcumin, a compound extracted from the turmeric widely used in Indian cooking, could boost one’s immune system. The key seems to be the CAMP gene, according to the study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. CAMP stands for cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide. Curcumin activates the properties of the CAMP gene through a vitamin D receptor-independent pathway, helping the immune system fight off infections. Earlier, it was thought only vitamin D could do it. So maybe eating more curries, and in large quantities, can be our ticket to better health. This seems to be especially true if one suffers from stomach and intestinal tract infections. Meanwhile, a study at Ohio State University found that “a low dose of curcumin extract from the spice turmeric can have a variety of positive health effects on healthy middle-aged individuals.” Even people afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease can show improvement.
Interestingly, as per a Hotel.com poll of 27,000 international travelers, Indian food is among the top 10 world cuisines for diners when they are on vacation. Indian cuisine, ranked number 10, is less popular than other Asian cusines like Japanese, Thai, and Chinese. Italian food holds the highest rank in the world. There’s no connection, presumably, between the growing attraction to Indian cuisine and studies showing its health benefits. But who says those studies won’t help?
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