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Onions and Garlic Protect You From Cancer

Some of the same smelly vegetables -- onions and garlic -- that boost your body's natural abilities to protect you from hypertension and osteoporosis may also reduce your risk of various forms of cancer, according to a new study.

Based on the reputation allium vegetables have for fighting disease in Chinese studies, researchers analyzed the odds of cancer based on the frequency of garlic and onion use, using data from a network of Italian and Swiss case-controlled studies.

In a comparison of patients to controls, those with the highest intake of onions and garlic had the most protection from an assortment of cancers including:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Prostate cancer

The trick about using garlic and onions: Eating them fresh, especially garlic. Allicin, the active ingredient in garlic, vanishes about an hour after carving it up, which also means taking a garlic pill is worthless.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 84, No. 5, November 2006: 1027-1032