Onion and Garlic Decrease Breast Cancer Risk by 67%

Organosulfurs prove anti cancerogenic properties

Onions and garlic

Onions and garlic

From Puerto Rico, sofrito is a condiment for just about every dish. It is made with onions and garlic.

The island favorite may also be a recipe for reducing the risk of breast cancer, say researchers at the University at Buffalo and University of Puerto Rico in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.

“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 and epidemiology doctoral student at the University of Buffalo.

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In fact, those who consumed sofrito more than once per day had a 67% decrease in risk compared to women who never ate it.

The idea for the study stemmed from previous scientific evidence showing that eating onions and garlic may have a protective effect against cancer.

“Studying Puerto Rican women who consume a lot of onions and garlic as sofrito was unique,” Desai said.

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Puerto Rican women consume larger amounts of onions and garlic than in Europe and the US as a result of sofrito. Onions and garlic also are eaten regularly in “guisos” (stews) and bean- and rice-based dishes.

Onions and garlic are rich in flavonols and organosulfar compounds. Garlic contains compounds such as S-allylcysteine, diallyl sulfide, and diallyl disulfide, while onions contain alk(en)yl cysteine sulphoxides.

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“These compounds are in humans, as well as in experimental animal studies,” said Lina Mu, the study’s senior author and associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health at Buffalo.

The study was conducted between 2008 and 2014 and included 314 women with breast cancer and 346 control subjects.

See our sofrito recipe.

Reference Gauri Desai, Michelle Schelske-Santos, Cruz M. Nazario, Rosa V. Rosario-Rosado, Imar Mansilla-Rivera, Farah Ramírez-Marrero, Jing Nie, Ajay A. Myneni, Zuo-Feng Zhang, Jo L. Freudenheim, Lina Mu. Onion and Garlic Intake and Breast Cancer, a Case-Control Study in Puerto Rico. Nutrition and Cancer, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1080/01635581.2019.1651349
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