Health benefits of the good ol' British Curry says Epsom restaurateur
11:37am Monday 14th May 2012 in Freetime
Curry doesn't just taste great, it really is good for your health according to a restaurateur who has been championing a spice now being clinically tested as an anti-cancer drug.
Enam Ali, 51, owner of Indian fine-dining restaurant Le Raj, in Fir Tree Road, Epsom, said turmeric is traditionally known as a "herb and spice" but the medicinal benefits of it should not be under-estimated.
Mr Ali said he supports a study launched recently by Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) at Leicester University which is investigating, through clinical trials, whether tablets of curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, can be used in the treatment for bowel cancer that has spread. Mr Ali said his diners often ask for their curries to contain extra turmeric and that a special fish dish has been developed by the restaurant for people to derive the medicinal benefits of it.
He said: "Turmeric is three thousand years old and is traditionally regarded as a herb and spice used to make curry, but it also an important medicinal remedy.
"It is used as an antibiotic and an anti-sceptic, and can be used to fight cancers which the research at Leicester University is investigating. These medicinal benefits have never been explored in the Western world before now."
"Le Raj has come up with a fish recipe specifically designed to give our customers the medicinal benefits of turmeric in their curry. It contains fish, turmeric, garlic and crushed black pepper. When the black pepper and the turmeric are mixed together, curcumin is released in the reaction.
"A number of our customers have been using the recipe including one who is suffering from bowel cancer.
"A curry is made up of its mother, which is the onion, and its father, which is turmeric. So now the father of curry is dominating and providing great health benefits."
Professor William Steward, ECMC director at the University of Leicester, said the research is at an early stage, but is "an intriguing area that we hope could provide clues in developing new drugs."
He said: "Once bowel cancer has spread it is very difficult to treat, partly because the side effects of chemotherapy can limit how long patients can have treatment.
"The prospect that curcumin might increase the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy is exciting because it could mean giving lower doses, so patients have fewer side effects and can keep having treatment for longer."