If you love onions, garlic, and other members of the allium family, you may not love some of their side effects, such as their smell. From garlic breath to onion-scented sweat, it’s not unusual to smell the remnants of garlic- and onion-heavy meals for hours or days to come. But if you needed a reason to tolerate that smell, now you’ve got one. An increasing amount of research is demonstrating that consumption of alliums can fight many types of cancer.
We’ve written here before about the effects of onions and garlic on colorectal cancer. Those with the highest consumption of alliums suffered lower rates of colorectal cancer. Now new research has indicated that consumption of garlic and onions may also lead to lower rates of breast cancer.
A recent study looked at rates of breast cancer among women in Puerto Rico, which are lower than in the mainland US. Puerto Rican cuisine is also noted for its heavy use of sofrito, an aromatic sauce that contains high amounts of garlic and onions and that is eaten with a wide variety of dishes.
Researchers found that women who consumed the highest amounts of garlic and onions had the lowest rates of breast cancer. Sofrito was a major component of this, with daily consumption of sofrito being implicated in a 67% reduction in breast cancer risk.
It’s important to note that this study didn’t determine why high consumption of alliums resulted in a lower risk of breast cancer, so researchers could only speculate as to the cause of the lower breast cancer risk. But this study joins an increasing number of studies that demonstrate that consumption of garlic and onions has numerous beneficial health effects. So if you’re worried about smelling like garlic or onions the next time you cook, just remember that the long-term health benefits of allium consumption far outweigh any short-term olfactory embarrassment you might experience.