Garlic & Onions: As Healthful as they are Tasty
Onions and garlic are great unless an onion or garlic eater decides to yawn next to your nose. But that aside, you should know that these sulfurous foods deliver more than just flavor to stews, burgers, sauces and all kinds of dishes. Swiss researchers have shown that eating onions can be very good for your bones. And Italian researchers have shown that they help prevent cancer. Further, some scientists have also shown that garlic and onions (not necessarily eaten together) are also good for your heart. A CBS news story based on a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reports:
Italian researchers found that people whose diets are rich in onions, garlic, and other alliums have a much lower risk of several types of cancer than those who avoid the pungent herbs.
Researcher Carlotta Galeone, of the Istituto di Ricerche Farmocologiche “Mario Negri” in Milan, and colleagues say the health benefits of onion and garlic have been touted for centuries, but few studies have been able to prove the benefits.
Pungent Cancer Prevention
In their study, researchers used data from several Italian and Swiss cancer studies to look at the relationship between onion and garlic consumption and cancer at several body sites, including the mouth, larynx, esophagus, colon, breast, ovary, and kidneys.
Overall, consumption of onions ranged from 0-14 portions per week among cancer patients and 0-22 portions per week among those without cancer.
Garlic use was also lower among people with cancer, except for those with cancer of the breast, ovary, or prostate.
Researchers found moderate consumption of onions appeared to reduce the risk of colorectal, laryngeal, and ovarian cancers.
What’s more, men who eat garlic, onions, leeks, shallots, scallions, and chives (vegetables of the Allium family) as a regular part of their diets may reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer, according to a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2002;94:1648–51). While consuming these foods has been associated with a reduction in the incidence of stomach, colon, esophagus, and breast cancers, this is the first study to show that eating these vegetables may also lower prostate cancer risk. Read more on this study by clicking here.