Eating a diet rich in onion and garlic every day can prevent the risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new study.
Women who ate sofrito a clove of popular garlic- and onion-based condiment in Puerto Rican cuisine more than once per day showed a 67 percent 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 compounds such as S-allyl cysteine, diallyl sulfide, and diallyl disulfide, while onion contains alkenyl cysteine sulphoxides. Besides humans, these compounds were also effective on animals, said, researchers.
“Onions and garlic are rich in flavonols and organosulfur 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, the combined intake of onions and garlic prevented breast cancer risk, the researchers said.
Previous studies have shown 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 the 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 the lives of an estimated 627,000 women nearly 15 percent of all cancer deaths among women, the global health body said.
While 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.