Onion, garlic can cut breast cancer risk: Study

The vegetables are rich in flavonols and organosulfar compounds and also contain anticarcinogenic properties

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 24 September 2019
Photo: Getty Images

Eating a diet rich in onion and garlic everyday can prevent risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new study.

Women who ate sofrito — a popular garlic- and onion-based condiment in Puerto Rican cuisine — more than once per day showed a 67 per cent decrease in risk compared to those who never ate it, showed the study by a team of researchers from the University at Buffalo (UB) and University of Puerto Rico.

Both garlic and onions contain anticarcinogenic properties: Garlic contains compunds such as S-allylcysteine, diallyl sulfide and diallyl disulfide, while onion contains alk(en)yl cysteine sulphoxides.

Besides humans, these compounds were also effective on animals, said researchers.

“Onions and garlic are rich in flavonols and organosulfar compounds,” said Gauri Desai, lead author and epidemiology student in UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions.

The results are published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.

For the study, the team included 314 women with breast cancer and 346 control subjects from Puerto Rico.

While sofrito alone showed no benefits, combined intake of onions and garlic prevented breast cancer risk, the researchers said.

Previous studies have showed onion and garlic are beneficial for reducing the risk of cancers of the lung, prostate, and stomach. 

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women worldwide: it accounted for 25.4 per cent of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2018, according to non profit World Cancer Research Fund.

It impacts 2.1 million women each year and is also the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women, said the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 2018, breast cancer claimed lives of an estimated 627,000 women — nearly 15 per cent of all cancer deaths among women, the global health body said.

While the deadly cancer is common among post-menopausal women, it can also develop at a younger age. Mammography screening, waking up early, maintaining a healthy lifestyle could be key to keep the disease at bay.

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