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Eating garlic cuts lung cancer risk significantly

Teresa Tanoos's picture
Lung cancer risk reduced by eating garlic

Eating raw garlic twice a week could cut your risk of developing lung cancer in half, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

To analyze the link between raw garlic consumption and lung cancer, researchers from the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China conducted a population-based case control study between 2003 and 2010.

The researchers collected data from 1,424 lung cancer patients, as well as 4,543 healthy controls, by interviewing the participants face-to-face and having them answer a standard questionnaire on diet and lifestyle habits, including how often they ate garlic and whether or not they smoked.

As a result, the study found that participants who consumed raw garlic regularly (two or more times a week), significantly decreased their risk of developing lung cancer by 44 percent.

"Protective association between intake of raw garlic and lung cancer has been observed with a dose-response pattern, suggesting that garlic may potentially serve as a chemo-preventive agent for lung cancer," said the study authors.

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In 2009, 205,974 Americans were diagnosed with lung cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is the second most common type of cancer in both men and women – and long- term smoking is the most common cause, accounting for 9 out of every 10 cases of the disease.

However, it’s interesting to note that when looking specifically at participants who smoked, researchers found that eating raw garlic still decreased their risk of lung cancer by approximately 30 percent.

Accordingly, the researchers say that the link between garlic and preventing lung cancer is worthy of additional in-depth investigation.

Indeed, prior studies also confirm a link between garlic consumption and prevention of other types of cancer as well. For example, a study from the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center revealed that selenium, an ingredient found in garlic, may possess anti-cancer properties.

In another study from the Medical University of South Carolina, researchers found that another herb found in garlic, organosulfur compounds, may play a part in killing brain cancer cells. The widely used herb is also known for preventing and treating other ailments, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

SOURCE: "Raw garlic consumption as a protective factor for lung cancer, a population-based control study in a Chinese population", doi: 10.1158/1940-6207, published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, May 8, 2013