Oregon State University researchers have discovered that some curry dishes might actually help you fight infection.
The researchers reported in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry that curcumin, a compound found in the cooking spice turmeric, can cause a modest but measurable increase in levels of a protein that's part of our immune system that helps prevent infection in humans and other animals.
The protein -- cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide or CAMP -- is part of what helps our immune system fight off various bacteria, viruses or fungi, they said.
They said that curcumin's role is not nearly as potent in raising those levels as vitamin D. However, the discovery of an alternative mechanism to influence or raise CAMP levels could open new research avenues in nutrition and pharmacology, scientists said.
Turmeric is a flavorful, orange-yellow spice and an important ingredient in many curries, commonly found in Indian, South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It has also been used for 2,500 years as an Ayurvedic medicinal compound in India, where turmeric is treated with reverence.
The Oregon researchers worked in collaboration with scientists from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Read more about the findings here.
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