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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

University at Buffalo: Study Indicates Onions and Garlic May Be Recipe for Reducing Breast Cancer Risk

Onions and garlic — key ingredients in sofrito, a condiment staple of Puerto Rican cuisine — may reduce the risk of breast cancer. That’s according to the findings of a study led by University at Buffalo researchers and published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.

“We found that among Puerto Rican women, the combined intake of onion and garlic, as well as sofrito, was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer,” said Ms. Gauri Desai, the study’s lead author and epidemiology PhD student in the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.

Those who consumed sofrito more than once per day had a 49 percent decrease in risk compared to women who never ate it. Ms. Desai added the total intake of onions and garlic, not sofrito alone, was associated with breast cancer risk.

Why the focus on these two ingredients? “Onions and garlic are rich in flavonols and organosulfar compounds,” Ms. Desai said. “These compounds show anticarcinogenic properties in humans, as well as in experimental animal studies,” said Dr. Lina Mu, study senior author and associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health at UB.

Study participants were enrolled in the Atabey Study of Breast Cancer, a case-control study conducted between 2008 and 2014 of 314 women with breast cancer and 346 control subjects.

Co-authors are, from UB’s Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health: Dr. Jing Nie, research assistant professor, and Mr. Ajay Myneni, research scientist; from the University of Puerto Rico: Drs. Michelle Schelske-Santos, Cruz Nazario, Rosa Rosario-Rosado, Imar Mansilla-Rivera and Farah Ramirez-Marrero; and from the University of California at Los Angeles: Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang.

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