A new study has found that a recipe made from onions and garlic could help reduce breast cancer risk.
Researchers from the University at Buffalo and the University of Puerto Rico have found that onions and garlic are the key ingredients in sofrito, a sauce popularly used by Puerto Ricans, which could reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.
The study, which was published in Nutrition and Cancer, was the first of its kind to examine the association between the consumption of onion/garlic and breast cancer risk in Puerto Rico.
Lead study author and epidemiologist Gauri Desai said, “We found that among Puerto Rican women, the combined intake of onion and garlic, as well as sofrito, was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer.”
The researchers found that women who consumed the sauce more than once a day had 76 percent decreased risk of developing breast cancer than women who did not.
Desai said, “Studying Puerto Rican women who consume a lot of onions and garlic as sofrito was unique.” She explained that the overall intake of onions and garlic, and not sofrito alone, was linked to the lower risk of breast cancer.
The epidemiologist noted that Puerto Rico was the right place to conduct the study because women there are known to consume a lot of onions and garlic than in the United States and Europe, as sofrito is more popular there. Also, they consume a lot of guiso stew that contains onions and garlic.
Desai added, “Puerto Rico has lower breast cancer rates compared to the mainland U.S., which makes it an important population to study.”
Study co-author Jo Freudenheim said, “There is very little research on breast cancer in Puerto Rico. This study was a collaboration between my colleagues here at UB and at the University of Puerto Rico to help us understand why rates there are lower than in the rest of the U.S., and why rates there are continuing to increase while they are decreasing in the rest of the United States.”
“Onions and garlic are rich in flavonols and organosulfur compounds,” said Desai, which is why they have the potential to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Garlic, in particular, is known to have S-allylcysteine, diallyl disulfide, and diallyl sulfide. Onions contain alkyl cysteine sulphoxides. “These compounds show anti-carcinogenic properties in humans, as well as in experimental animal studies,” said senior study author Lina Mu.