Scientists suggest that the Puerto Rican culinary tradition of incorporating sofrito into many dishes might help explain a lower rate of breast cancer on the island (Nutrition and Cancer, Aug. 12, 2019). Puerto Rican cooks make this popular condiment with onions and garlic, two kinds of peppers, cilantro and a related herb, recao.
The Importance of Onions and Garlic:
Puerto Rican women who ate lots of garlic and onions were 67 percent less likely to get breast cancer. Although sofrito is an important source of allium vegetables, total intake was important, not only the use of sofrito. Epidemiologists reached their conclusion by comparing diets of Puerto Rican women with and without breast cancer.
Why Might These Vegetables Help Against Breast Cancer?
The researchers point out that onions and garlic are rich in flavonols and sulfur-containing compounds that have anti-cancer activity. Other studies have found that certain sulfur compounds arrest cancer cell growth (International Journal of Molecular Sciences, July 28, 2017). Scientists around the world are studying allium vegetables for cancer prevention (Phytotherapy Research, Aug. 29, 2019).