Onions and garlic are known all over the world to ward off evil and monsters, whether it be vampires, were-wolves, or witches spells. But do you know that they can also prevent breast cancer?
A recent study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer is the first population-based study to examine the link between onion and garlic consumption and breast cancer in Puerto Rico.
About the study
In the study, the researchers studied 314 Puerto Rico women with breast cancer between 2008 and 2014.
Puerto Rico was a perfect place to study, as people there love sofrito, a sauce consisting of garlic and onion. So, women in Puerto Rico consume larger amounts of onions and garlic than in Europe and the mainland U.S. Onions and garlic are also eaten regularly in "guisos" (stews) as well as in bean- and rice-based dishes in Puerto Rican cuisine.
It turned out that women who consumed sofrito more than once per day had a 67% decrease in risk compared to women who never ate it.
"We found that among Puerto Rican women, the combined intake of onion and garlic, as well as sofrito, was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer," said Gauri Desai, the study's lead author, adding that breast cancer risk was associated with total intake of onions and garlic, not sofrito alone.
In addition, "Puerto Rico has lower breast cancer rates compared to the mainland U.S., " Desai said.
Why onions and garlic can prevent breast cancer
According to the researchers, garlic contains compounds such as S-allylcysteine, diallyl sulfide and diallyl disulfide, while onions contain alk(en)yl cysteine sulphoxides.
"These compounds show anti-carcinogenic properties in humans, as well as in experimental animal studies," said Lina Mu, the study's senior author.
So next time, try to add some onions and garlic when making dishes, they can not only add flavor to your food, but also bring you unique health benefits.