Garlic and Cancer: Can raw garlic help prevent cancer?

Fall Recipes: Garlic

garlic and cancer

According to a recent study that looked at garlic and cancer, the answer is yes!

A Chinese study looked at 1,424 lung cancer patients and 4,543 people who were cancer free between 2003 and 2010, and they found that eating raw garlic two or more times each week may help protect you against lung cancer. The study abstract didn’t specify the amount of garlic that participants were eating, however. If it was 1-2 cloves, that’s easy enough for anyone to work into a weekly routine. You could add a minced, raw clove to a salad, guacamole, salsa, or even onto your sandwiches.

Garlic and Cancer: A History of Research

This isn’t the first population study that showed a positive link between garlic consumption and cancer prevention. According to the National Cancer Institute other studies have found that regular garlic consumption protects you against:

  • stomach cancer
  • colon cancer
  • esophageal cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • breast cancer
  • colorectal cancer
  • intestinal cancer – this study looked at increased consumption of garlic and onions
  • prostate cancer

Population studies aren’t the only area of research finding strong correlations between garlic and cancer prevention. Some clinical trials have looked at whether garlic can help prevent cancer. One study had 5,000 patients at high risk for stomach cancer taking either garlic extract or a placebo and found that participants taking garlic were far less likely to develop stomach cancer. However, there are also clinical studies showing no effect on this area.

Related Reading: Study Reveals Fresh Garlic Better for Your Heart Than Processed

When it comes to food and health, I’m a big fan of the “if it doesn’t hurt, why not?” approach. Garlic makes food delicious, and even though raw garlic may not do wonders for your breath, if it can even possibly help your body defend itself against cancer, why not toss a minced clove into your meal once in a while?

So, even though garlic can be a little bit stinky, this garlic and cancer connection might still be a good reason to plant some garlic in your fall garden and eat up!

What do you guys think about all of this garlic and cancer prevention research? Do you make an effort to eat garlic? Do you even have to make an effort, since garlic is such a staple spice in so many recipes? Let’s discuss in the comments!

h/t Food Safety News

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by mdid

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