What really works to prevent urinary tract infections, night sweats, irregular periods, migraines, cancer, heart disease, and more.
Lorie A. Parch
7 of 9 | TURMERIC (Curcuma longa)
BEST FOR: Cancer prevention. Curcuminoids, the active compounds that give the spice turmeric its bright-gold color, has long been known as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, says Bharat B. Aggarwal, Ph.D., the Ransom Home Jr. Distinguished Professor of Cancer Research at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. For women with recurrent breast cancer, curcumin might prove especially useful, says Aggarwal. "We've shown in animal models that curcumin may help prevent metastasis, even after failed treatment with the drug tamoxifen," he says. In women with HER-2 receptor-positive cancer, curcuminoids also seem to behave much like the highly successful chemotherapy drug Herceptin, although research is highly preliminary. HOW TO TAKE IT: It's best to get your curcumin by using turmeric in curries and other foods. If you aren't a fan of Indian food, Aggarwal advises taking one 500-milligram capsule of curcumin—standardized to 95 percent curcuminoids, such as Sabinsa's C3 Complex—each day. SAFETY ISSUES: Side effects are uncommon but include flatulence, diarrhea, and heartburn. Aggarwal suggests forgoing turmeric if you're taking blood thinners.