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Alliums to the Rescue

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Garlic, Onions and Leeks linked to lower colon cancer risk

Raw or cooked, garlic is known for delivering massive flavor and even referred to by some as Russian penicillin.  Fun Fact: its protective properties were once regarded as folk remedies for poor digestion and fatigue (and even kept away vampires).  From folklore to modern medicine, garlic and its vegetal relatives - alliums (including leeks, chives, scallions and onions) have now been linked to reduced risk of colorectal cancerThe study was published in The Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology

Chinese researchers recruited 833 patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) at 3 hospitals between 2009 and 2011.  Participants were matched with controls or people of the same sex, age and who lived in the same relative area who did not have CRC.  Demographics, lifestyle, medical history and detailed food frequency questionnaires were assessed during a verbal interview.  Investigators dove into 99 different food items and specifically inquired about variety of allium, cruciferous and other vegetables eaten.   

Researchers saw that the CRC group had more exposure to smoking and had more family history of CRC.  They also observed they had significantly higher intake of alcohol, red meat, and overall calories but less milk, vegetables, fruit, and allium vegetables.  They noted that participants who ate more total allium vegetables, (about ½ cup a day) had 79% lower odds of having colorectal cancer.  Excluding skin cancer, CRC is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S. 

Conveniently, garlic and onions can be added to almost any dish adding layers of flavor and health protective benefits.  Here are a few of our favorites: 

Published May 1, 2019

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