A daily bowl of "tom yum gung", Thailand's celebrated spicy shrimp soup, mighthelp keep the doctor away, the Bangkok Post reported this week. According tothe preliminary results of a Thai-Japanese study into the medicinal qualitiesof Thai cuisine, tom yum gung contains several anti-cancer properties that aremore effective than other antioxidants, including vitamin C and the vitaminprecursor betacarotene. The study concluded that substances found in galanga, lemon grass and kaffirlime leaves - the main ingredients in the spicy soup - are 100 times moreeffective in inhibiting tumours than those found in other foods. Researchersat Thailand's Kasetsart University, who conducted the study with Kyoto andKinki universities in Japan, claimed that the results confirmed "folkknowledge" and that traditional Thai cuisine, famed for its heavy use of herbsand spices, has long been known to have health benefits. The researchers addedthat they had discovered a type of antioxidant, called 1'- acetoxychavicolacetate (ACA), in the soup's ingredients, which was 100 times more effectivein blocking cancer growths than betacarotene - currently deemed the substancewith the best cancer- fighting properties. Research on tom yum gung and otherwell-known Thai dishes began in 1993 after a discovery by Japanese researchersthat Thais have a much lower rate of cancer of the digestive tract thanJapanese, Filipinos and Westerners.