According to Italian researchers, a high intake of garlic and onions may significantly reduce the risk of a variety of cancers. The study of more than 25,000 participants used dietary data from Italian and Swiss case-control studies. Participants rated their garlic
and onion intake.
Researchers report that both onion and garlic intake were associated with significant reductions in all the types of cancer studied.
Participants with a "high" intake of garlic had an associated risk reduction of up to 84 percent for cancer of the oral cavity, 56 percent for colorectal cancer, 25 percent for breast cancer, 73 percent for ovarian cancer and 71 percent for prostate cancer; compared to participants for a "low" garlic intake.
Participants with the highest onion intake experienced similar protection against a variety of cancers. Participants with the highest intake of onion had an associated risk reduction of 39 percent for cancer of the oral cavity, 26 percent for colorectal cancer, 10 percent for breast cancer, 22 percent for ovarian cancer and 19 percent for prostate cancer; compared to those participants who did not consume any onions.
Researchers speculate allium, a compound present in both garlic and onions may be responsible for the protective effect, although further studies are needed.
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