Eating onions and garlic may reduce breast cancer risk, US study reveals

October 2, 2019

An unusual way to reduce breast cancer risk, by consuming onions and garlic, has recently been studied by American researchers from the University of Buffalo (UB) and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). There is previous evidence that eating onions and garlic can protect against the deadly cancer, and now, the study showed that Puerto Rican women who ate onions and garlic more than once daily by way of local delicacy sofrito, were 67% less likely to develop breast cancer than women who never ate it.

According to Gauri Desai, an epidemiology PhD student in UB’s School of Public Health,onions and garlic are rich in flavonols and organosulfar compounds – basically anticarcinogenic in humans.

Puerto Rico was thus a perfect place to study, because women there consume larger amounts of onions and garlic than in Europe and the US, due to the popularity of sofrito. Onions and garlic also are eaten regularly in stews an in bean-/rice-based dishes in Puerto Rican cuisine.

The six-year study was conducted with 346 control subjects, which included 314 women with breast cancer. These women were enrolled in the Atabey Study of Breast Cancer, a case-control study named after the Puerto Rican goddess of fertility.

“Studying Puerto Rican women who consume a lot of onions and garlic as sofrito was unique,” Desai said, but it was the total intake of onions and garlic, not sofrito alone, that was associated with breast cancer risk.

In addition, as Puerto Rico has lower breast cancer rates compared to the mainland US, it is important to know the reason behind the differences in these US territories.

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Category: Education, Features

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