Eat Your Onions and Garlic

Study Suggests Potent Vegetables Decrease Cancer Risks
by Rick Hall, MS, RD
Could an onion lower your risk for cancer?
Phytonutrients found in vegetables from the allium family may decrease prostate cancer risks by as much as 50 percent, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
National Cancer Institute’s Dr. Ann Hsing led the study conducted in Shanghai, China. Researchers compared the dietary intake of healthy individuals to the diets of individuals with prostate cancer. Men who ate at least 10 grams per day of garlic, scallions, onions, chives and/or leeks were significantly less likely to develop prostate cancer than those who ate less than 2.2 grams per day.
The reduced risk of prostate cancer associated with consumption of these vegetables, according to the researchers, was independent of body size, intake of other foods, and total calories.
Previous research, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), has also linked allium vegetables to decreased cancer risks. The Iowa Women’s Health Study, for example, linked allium vegetables with lower risk of colon cancer. Additionally, several case-control studies have linked allium vegetables to lower risk for cancer of the stomach, colon, esophagus, breast and endometrium (lining of the uterus).
Plant foods have phytonutrients that are believed to help the body fight infection, decrease cardiovascular disease risks and improve pain associated with circulatory conditions such as arthritis. The cancer story is another important link in the mounting evidence for the need to boost dietary intake of fruits and vegetables.

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