Aside from their ability to inject deep flavor into almost any meal, onions and garlic might also protect against cancer, according to a recent study.

Garlic, onions, leeks, chives and shallots are classed as allium vegetables.They are grown throughout much of the world and form the bedrock of family meals far and wide.Earlier studies have shown that certain compounds in allium vegetables — including flavanols and organosulfur compounds — are bioactive.Some have been shown to hinder the development of cancer.

The researchers found that, as theorized, there was a significant relationship between the level of allium vegetables that an individual consumes and their risk of colorectal cancer.

Specifically, in adults who consumed the highest levels of allium vegetables, the risk of developing colorectal cancer was 79 percent lower than those who consumed the lowest levels.

“It is worth noting that in our research there seems to be a trend: the greater the amount of allium vegetables, the better the protection.”

Senior author Dr. Zhi Li

The inverse relationship was seen in the overall consumption of allium vegetables, as well as in specific types, namely garlic, garlic stalks, leeks, onions, and spring onions.

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