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Green Tea and Curry: A recipe for a healthy and long life
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It's been a great week for Eastern restaurants

It's been a great week for Eastern restaurants. After scientists revealed that green tea - served in Japanese restaurants - cut the risk of fatal heart problems by a quarter, another study group has found that curcumin - the base for curries in Indian restaurants - might cure polyps.

In the green tea study, researchers found that participants who drank five or more cups a day enjoyed a 25 per cent greater protection against heart disease, including stroke, compared with those who drank less than one cup a day. The tea didn't protect against cancer, however. In all, 40,530 healthy Japanese adults aged 40 or above were monitored for 11 years in what has been called the Ohsaki Study.

Good news, too, for people who like to pop into their local Indian for a curry. Researchers have stumbled on the discovery that curcumin, a yellow pigment in the turmeric herb that is the base for curries, may cure colorectal polyps.

They tested a supplement that contained 480 mg of curcumin and 20 mg of quercetin, a plant flavonoid found in apples and onions, on five patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), which can become carcinogenic.

Over a six-month period, there was a 60 per cent decrease in the number of polyps, while the average size of the polyp halved. While the quercetin level was about the same a person got from his diet, the amount of curcumin was far beyond the amount normally consumed.

That means the polyps sufferer can't just dive into his local Indian. He has to take supplements.

(Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2006; 296: 1255-65 (green tea study); Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2006; 4 (8) (curcumin study)).

E-news broadcast 14 September 2006 No.292

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