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Onions May Inhibit Liver, Colon Cancer

Onions are excellent antioxidants, containing anti-allergy, antiviral and antihistamine properties. Also, the sulfur compounds in onions help to detoxify the body. A recent study has shown specific varieties of onions are particularly high in anti-cancer chemicals that may inhibit liver and colon cancer cell growth.

Colon cancer cells were affected most by Western Yellow and New York Bold onions. Western Yellow, New York Bold and Northern Red onions and shallots were found to be more effective against liver cancer.

Phenolics and flavonoids are types of phytochemicals -- antioxidant chemicals that protect plants against bacteria, viruses and fungi. Phenolics and flavonoids, like other antioxidants, help prevent cancer by mopping up cell-damaging free radicals and inhibiting the production of reactive substances that could damage normal cells.

In fact, shallots had six times the cancer-fighting content of Vidalia, the onion variety with the lowest content. Western Yellow onions had more flavonoids by far -- 11 times more -- than Western Whites, the onion with the fewest flavonoids.

This news goes hand with a 2002 study that found a diet rich in garlic, onions, shallots, leeks and scallions may cut the risk of prostate cancer.

HealthOrbit October 7, 2004

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