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Garlic prevents gastric cancer

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Tuesday March 31, 2015 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study published this year in Nutrition and Cancer suggests that eating garlic may reduce the risk of gastric cancer or stomach cancer.

Epidemiological studies performed in the past two decades indicated that garlic may positively modify the risk of gastric cancer.  This may not be surprising considering that some compounds in garlic such as diallyl trisulfide are known to have anticarcinogenic properties.

The new meta-analysis of data from 14 case control studies and two randomized controlled studies and 1 cohort study showed that garlic consumption was associated with reduced risk of gastric cancer.

The highest intake of garlic was found associated with 50% reduction in the risk of gastric cancer, compared to lower intake, and consumption of any amount was linked to about 25% reduced risk, compared to non-consumption.

About 60% of gastric cancer cases are caused by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori.    Nearly 50% Asians carry the bacteria.  Pickled vegetables, salted or preserved fish and smoking can also increase the risk of the cancer.    Eating red meat has also been associated with increased risk of gastric cancer. 

H. Pylori can be eliminated by antibiotics.   Low intake of salt is another effective preventative against the development of gastric cancer.  Studies show that the bacteria produce carcinogens only in a high-salt environment which also explains why pickled vegetables and salted fish (high salt foods) increase the risk.  

In addition to garlic, soy, mushroom, Mediterranean diet, and phytochemicals found in fruit and vegetables can also reduce the risk of gastric cancer.  (David Liu, Ph.D.)

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