Regularly adding garlic and onions to the foods you eat may help ward off several kinds of cancer. That’s what European researchers discovered in a series of eight studies that looked at dietary links to cancers of the mouth, esophagus, larynx, breast, ovaries, prostate, kidney, colon and rectum. Consumption of onions by the participants ranged from zero to 22 portions a week. Garlic consumption was ranked simply as low, intermediate or high.
The researchers found that high consumption of garlic or onions was each linked to a reduced risk of several cancers, with the exception of breast and prostate cancers. Participants who ate the most garlic and onions, for example, were 26% and 56% less likely, respectively, to develop colorectal cancer.
The potential for cancer protection may be due, in part, to sulfur compounds that give garlic and onions their strong taste and pungency.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2006.