LivingOnion and Garlic May Protect Against Cancer

Onion and Garlic May Protect Against Cancer

In addition to their ability to add intense flavor to almost any food, onions and garlic may also protect against cancer, according to a recent study published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Previous studies have shown that certain compounds in allium vegetables, including flavanols and organic sulfur compounds, are bioactive. And some have been shown to hinder cancer development.

A team of researchers from the University of China Medicine set out to understand whether consuming larger amounts of these vegetables could prevent the development of colorectal cancer. Not counting skin cancers, colorectal cancer, also called bowel cancer, is one of the most common cancers.

The possibility that allium vegetables can reduce the risk of intestinal cancer has been previously studied; however, the results have always been mixed. Why?

The authors of the latest study believe that the variation in results is due in part to the way the data was collected. For example, some studies combined all the allium vegetables in one group, and others only the most common.

With this in mind, the researchers designed a study that would more accurately capture the impact of allium vegetables on colorectal cancer risk.

To investigate, they compared 833 individuals with colorectal cancer to 833 control participants, without cancer, who were similar in age and sex and who lived in similar places. Each participant was interviewed and their eating habits were recorded using a validated food frequency questionnaire.

“It is worth noting that in our research there seems to be a trend: the higher the amount of Allium vegetables, the better the protection,” explains Zhi Li, leader of the work.

The inverse relationship was observed in the general consumption of allium vegetables, as well as in specific types, garlic, garlic stalks, leeks, onions and chives.

The correlation was also significant in both men and women. This is interesting because, in some previous studies, differences between the sexes were observed.

The authors concluded that “high intake of vegetables with allium total may be associated with a reduced risk of adenomatous colorectal polyps.”

A simple change in diet

This group of vegetables provides a simple lifestyle change that could help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, study researchers comment.

Consuming these vegetables alone will not significantly reduce your risk, but when used in conjunction with other dietary changes, it can make a big difference.

The debate is likely to continue, but if the results are replicated, adding onions and garlic to our dishes could be a tasty way to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Referencia: Allium vegetables are associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer: A hospital-based matched case-control study in China. Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2019. DOI: DOI: 10.1111/ajco.13133


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