Onions and garlic are key ingredients in sofrito, a condiment that’s a staple of Puerto Rican cuisine. They may also be a recipe for reducing the risk of breast cancer. Both garlic and onions contain anticarcinogenic properties: Garlic contains compunds such as S-allylcysteine, diallyl sulfide and diallyl disulfide, while onion contains alk(en)yl cysteine sulphoxides. Besides humans, these compounds were also effective on animals, said researchers.
Previous studies have showed onion and garlic are beneficial for reducing the risk of cancers of the lung, prostate, and stomach. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women worldwide: it accounted for 25.4 per cent of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2018, according to non profit World Cancer Research Fund. It impacts 2.1 million women each year and is also the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women, said the World Health Organization (WHO). In fact, those who consumed sofrito more than once per day had a 67% decrease in risk compared to women who never ate it. The idea for the study stemmed from previous scientific evidence showing that eating onions and garlic may have a protective effect against cancer.
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In 2018, breast cancer claimed lives of an estimated 627,000 women — nearly 15 per cent of all cancer deaths among women, the global health body said. The researchers found that the total amount of garlic and onions consumed daily was associated with the decreased risk, including these aromatics used in other dishes. The study points to a number of beneficial compounds found in garlic and onions that may drive the benefit, including organosulfur and flavonols.