Chilli and ginger are two flavours that rarely feature in traditional Irish cuisine, but given the latest developments in their health benefits, I expect we’ll be hearing a lot more from them.
Doctors have praised ginger for a long time because of its nausea-calming benefits. The root is known to ease vomiting, sooth burns and even relieve arthritis.
Capsaicin (the plant compound found in chili peppers), paradoxically, has been linked to causing stomach cancers.
But now, incredibly, scientists out of the American Chemical Society (ACS) say that the spice combination of the two spices has incredibly benefits. Their study finds that the pungent compound in ginger, called 6-ginergol, could counteract capsaicin’s potentially harmful effects.
“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,” explained researchers according to Global News.
“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 tumour growth,” they said.
The experiment involved feeding mice predisposed to cancer either chilli, ginger or a combination of both.
Of the mice fed only chili, all of the mice developed cancer in the lungs. Only half of the mice fed ginger developed cancer. Incredibly, only 1 in 5 of the mice fed a combination of both developed the disease.
The scientists concluded that the ingredients combine to create an incredible compound that fights cancer growth.
“The data encourages people to eat more spicy food to improve health and reduce mortality risk at an early age,” Dr. Lu Qi, a Harvard University professor, told the BBC.