Eating raw garlic and onions daily is a great way to lower your breast and colon cancer risk!
According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women. Colorectal cancer (bowel cancer) is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women.
Garlic and onions are two of the top 10 anticancer vegetables thanks to unique flavonols and organosulfur compounds like allicin, which have repeatedly demonstrated potent anticancer properties in animal and human studies.
This year two more studies were published providing additional evidence that onions and garlic offer significant protection against these two cancers.
Study #1: Garlic and Onions Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
In the first study, researchers surveyed women in Puerto Rico between 2007-2014 to assess whether daily consumption of garlic and onions had any effect on their breast cancer risk.
Puerto Rican cuisine is much higher in onion and garlic consumption than the rest of the United States and many Western Nations. Onions and garlic are staples in stews (“guisos”), beans, rice dishes, and sofrito, a popular Puerto Rican condiment made with raw garlic and onions and typically combined with various peppers, and herbs like cilantro and parsley.
In this study, 660 women (314 cancer cases and 346 controls) were asked how many times per day they consumed garlic and onions in the previous 12 months and were categorized as follows: zero to less than twice per week, less than twice per week to less than once per day, once per day day, and more than once per day.
The women were also asked how many times they consumed sofrito: never/rarely, number of times per month, number of times per week, or number of times per day.
The women who consumed the most garlic and onions had the lowest risk of breast cancer!
Researchers found that moderate-to-high daily garlic and onion consumption was associated with a 41-49% reduction in risk of breast cancer in Puerto Rican women.
And this was even after taking into consideration various confounding factors such as age, education, family history, BMI, menopausal status, smoking, etc.
Over half the women in this study reported consuming sofrito once or more per day. And those women had a 67 percent decrease in risk in breast cancer compared to those who reported never consuming sofrito. Wow!
As I said before, sofrito is a condiment often used to flavor rice, beans and stews. And it is now officially my #1 Anticancer Condiment.
Study #2: Allium Vegetables Reduce Colon Cancer Risk
Garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, shallots and chives are all members of the allium family of vegetables.
Vegetables from the allium family comprise a significant part of Northeast China’s customary cuisine and researchers in Shenyang, China did a case-control study using medical records in three area hospitals between June 2009 and November 2011.
The researchers matched over 833 colorectal cancer cases against the same number of healthy people who were similar in age, sex, and other demographics.
They analyzed the dietary allium vegetable consumption in cancer patients and healthy individuals and found that consumption of allium vegetables (in this case primarily garlic, garlic stalk, leeks, onion and spring onion) was associated with a reduced risk of almost all types of colorectal cancer.
Specifically, adults who ate the highest amount of allium vegetables had up to a 79 percent reduced risk of developing colorectal cancer compared to those who consumed the lowest amounts. Amazing!
The inverse relationship of increased allium consumption to a decreased likelihood of colorectal cancer was seen in the overall consumption of allium vegetables, as well as in specific types of allium vegetables. (Source)
So how much garlic and onions did the Chinese study participants eat? Up to 29 pounds (13.5 kg) of allium vegetables per year. That may sound like a lot, but it’s only about half a cup cooked or one cup of raw allium vegetables per day. Very doable.
Garlic and onion breath for the win!
As I discuss in my book Chris Beat Cancer: A Comprehensive Plan for Healing Naturally and throughout this site, raw garlic and onions were a major part of my nutritional strategy to help my body heal stage IIIc colon cancer after surgery. I consumed raw garlic and onions twice a day every single day in a Giant Salad and also ate multiple garlic cloves per day.
Consuming garlic and onions raw is important as studies have found that cooking these foods reduces their antioxidant and anticancer activity.
Having said that, I understand that garlic can be difficult for some folks to eat raw. If this is you, I suggest chopping the garlic clove into little bits, letting it sit for 10-20 minutes, then swallowing it with a sip of water like you’re taking supplements.
If a recipe you are following calls for cooked garlic and onions, let them sit for 20 minutes after chopping. This allows the anticancer compounds to form, which will not be destroyed by cooking.
Black garlic is an aged form of garlic that is sweet and chewy and numerous studies indicate that it may be even more nutritious and potent against cancer than raw garlic.
Another way to supercharge the anticancer benefits of garlic is combining it with lemon and consuming as lemon garlic extract. See my article This lemon garlic extract destroys cancer cells to learn how to make it.
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