How Onions and Garlic (Sofrito Sauce) Reduced Breast Cancer by 67% among Puerto Ricans?

Onions and garlic are the two vegetables which have immense benefits. They play a key role in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol.. According to recent research, other than working as an antibiotic and anti-fungal, it also serves in reducing the risk of cancer.

Researchers led by Gauri Desai from the University of Buffalo (UB), a part of the state of university of New York have come up with an interesting link for the breast cancer patients.

Onions and garlic belong to the genus of allium. All the species bear the same pungent smell with a feisty taste. However, there are many pre-existing pieces of research which have uncovered the beneficial link between colorectal, prostate, and stomach cancer and onions and garlic consumption.

All in all, the more vegetables you eat the more you reduce the risk of cancer. However, before this current research, very less extensive work was done on this link.

Thus, Desai and his team began their work on the women in Puerto Rico. Desai explains as to why he choose these people by saying that people of Puerto Rico show reduced rates of breast cancer as compared to the people living in the USA. This is one of the most important perspectives of the study.

Another reason she presented was about the sauce “sofrito” which is largely used by these people. The sauce is mainly composed of onions and garlic.

On 12th August’ 2019, the findings found its way in the journal Nutrition and Cancer

What role does onions and garlic play in breast cancer patients

Gauri Desai, Michelle Schelske-Santos and the rest of the team chose 314 women for the experiment. They went through the hospital records to pick up women aged between 30 and 79 and had cancer between the years 2008 and 2014.

While on the other hand, researchers selected some participants for a control group. To get precise results, they chose 346 participants almost from the same area and age.

The control group did not experience any type of cancer except non-melanoma skin cancer. Participants were asked to fill a questionnaire which inquired about their food intake. It was done to observe the daily consumption of onions and garlic.

They adjusted the factors like age, BMI, education, smoking, and family history. Consumption of vegetables in high and moderate amount is inversely related to the risk of cancer. And same is the case with onions and garlic.

The analysis of the study also shows a strong association between breast cancer and the consumption of onions and garlic.

Researchers examined sofrito individually. On comparing, they found that it reduced breast cancer risk by 67% if taken more than once a day.

Limitations of the study

These new findings were uncovered on a small scale especially for the women on menopause. Thus, researchers believe that these limitations might have affected the true association between cancer and onions and garlic.

Also, it was difficult to arrange a control group who never had onions and garlic in their diet.

Read also – Onions – Good for Summer Heat and Blood Sugar Regulation

Researchers explain that there is no such strict recipe for sofrito. It is a homemade traditional sauce, which may vary from person to person. This is why it was difficult for them to measure the exact amount of garlic and onions they were consuming.

Although the recipe may vary in every home, there are some major ingredients for this homemade sauce. These ingredients include bell peppers, black pepper, cilantro, and tomatoes. Researchers did not focus these ingredients in their research thus they cannot comment on the sole effect of onions and garlic in this.


Adeena Tariq

Adeena's professional life has been mostly in hospital management, while studying international business in college. Of course, she now covers topics for us in health.

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