Non-drug health defenders are more sought out than ever. Due to drug side effects and costs, many people are seeking alternatives in their search for good health and good health maintenance. While the supplements and tinctures that line the shelves at health food and grocery stores may offer support, food is the most elemental health enhancer there is. Find out the health benefits of garlic and onions, and get these alliums into your diet today.
What is an allium? Allium is a class of vegetable that includes garlic, shallots, onions chives, leeks and scallions. These aromatic, bulb-shaped vegetables are useful in cooking and also happen to be good for your health, thanks to the abundant content of arginine, oligosaccharides, flavonoids and selenium. The National Cancer Institute reports that these substances, along with the high sulfur content of garlic and onions, may be beneficial to health.
Eating alliums has health benefits. Garlic and onions reduce the risk of cancers and has natural antibacterial properties. The National Cancer Institute reports on a variety of cancers and the effect that garlic and onions has on the disease. While it is reported that few clinical trials have been done to offer proof that garlic and onions actually prevent cancer, the research that has been done offers some positive links that suggest there is as relationship.
Gastrointestinal cancer — The National Cancer Institute cites population studies that suggest the increased intake of garlic, onions and chives can reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as cancer of the gastrointestinal tract. Both stomach and colon cancer have been studied to determine the effect an increased intake of garlic can have on gastrointestinal cancer. Findings have been analyzed, and the data appears to suggest that the higher the intake of raw and cooked garlic, the lower the risk of stomach and colorectal cancer.
Prostate cancer — The National Cancer Institute also reports that prostate cancer studies have been done on the effect of allium vegetables (particularly garlic) and prostate cancer. Some studies suggest reductions in prostate cancer might be as high as 50 percent in those with an increased intake in the allium vegetables such as garlic and onions.
Breast cancer — French studies cited by the National Cancer Institute showed a statistically significant association with a reduction in breast cancer risk when garlic, fiber and onion intake was increased.
Pancreatic cancer — San Francisco Bay area studies compared an increase in garlic and onion consumption with a much lower rate of pancreatic cancer than that of those with a lower consumption of the allium vegetables.
Antibacterial and antifungal properties — Garlic appears to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. This antibacterial action is possibly useful in cancer prevention as well as various infection treatments — including drug resistant bacteria, according to an abstract reported on by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Allium from garlic may even have antiparasitic activity as well.