Tom yam gung ‘may block cancer’

BANGKOK (AFP): Tom yam gung, the Thai spicy prawn soup, contains ingredients that may help prevent digestive cancer, researchers announced today. Substances found in galangal, lemon grass and kaffir limes, three main ingredients in the soup, are effective in inhibiting tumors in the digestive tract, said the researchers, who work for Kyoto and Bangkok universities. “A combination of the main ingredients in the soup can block cancer cells,” said researcher Suratwadee Jiwajinda, who is studying the antioxidant properties of Thai food. Research into tom yam gung was initiated in 1993 as part of a wider study of antioxidants after Japanese researchers discovered that Thais had an extremely low rate of digestive tract cancer. The study did not establish how much tom yam gung a person would have to eat to beat digestive cancer, and K. Suratwadee warned that much more research was needed to confirm how effective tom yam gung is, and to determine how science could best use the soup’s ingredients. Tom yam gung is hardly “one hundred percent prevention [against cancer], because there are many causes of cancer,” she added. Researchers have established that other herbs commonly used in Thai cuisine, such as ginger, basil and bitter cucumber, can help fight cancer.

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