Can Garlic Help With Cancer?

Many cultures have long used garlic for both cooking and medicinal purposes.  While it’s pungent flavour and strong odour is not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea, there is evidence that garlic and cancer are sworn enemies, with garlic having a significant impact on lowering your risk against many cancers.

While the evidence that garlic lowers colorectal cancer risk is still the strongest, this pungent antibiotic and antiviral veggie remains under further scrutiny for its role in reducing the risk of other cancers as well, such as stomach, colon, pancreatic, oesophageal, breast and prostate cancers. In many cases, the reduced risk has been calculated at 50%, which is rather good!

More About Garlic

Garlic belongs to the Allium family of vegetables which also includes onions, shallots, leeks, scallions and chives. Each clove of garlic is crammed with a variety of phytonutrients, flavonoids (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory), inulin and saponins all of which contribute in some way to its cancer-fighting properties. The sulphur compounds, which give garlic its distinctive whiff, also have many other health benefits too.

Crushing, bruising or chopping garlic releases a compound called allicin which forms several allyl sulphides which are all great when it comes to reducing cancer risks, as this plant chemical may, in fact, prevent damage to cell DNA, slow down cell proliferation as well as enhance genetic repair.

That said, when it comes to garlic and cancer, it’s important to understand how to purchase, prepare, cook and use the veggie in a way that retains the all-important cancer reducing phytonutrients.

When buying fresh garlic make sure to select solid, firm heads which have an even colour on the outer skins. The cloves should be plump with no visible green sprouts or leaves.

Garlic and Cancer

The greatest health benefits when it comes to garlic and cancer have of course been found in fresh uncooked garlic and some studies have found that even one clove of garlic a day can reduce the risk of some cancers. Simply chop or finely dice some garlic and sprinkle it on a salad, over a fillet of fish or onto your cooked vegetables. It’s even rather delicious scattered over a thick slice of buttered bread.

Since allicin is released when garlic is exposed to air, after chopping or pressing your garlic cloves, allow them to sit for around 10 minutes before adding them to any dishes. Cooking tends to speed up the breakdown of allicin, so the best cooking methods to retain the phytonutrients are steaming, baking and sautéing. Microwave cooking appears to kill everything healthy in garlic, so it’s best to steer clear of nuking your recipe masterpieces altogether.

If you really want to avoid ‘garlic breath’ you can turn to supplements. However, be warned that the allicin content may vary and be less powerful in this more people friendly garlic and cancer-fighting combo.

Although it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how much to eat, consuming garlic regularly as part of a balanced diet should definitely have a positive impact on fighting cancer.

Remember to always consult your doctor about any change in your diet as garlic may affect the way your liver removes other cancer treatment drugs from your body. Garlic also has blood thinning properties and can sometimes cause a few people to feel nauseous.

Finding a holistic approach to healing is what Dr Alain Sanua does best. As a doctor of naturopathy and homoeopathy, Dr Sauna believes in a natural approach to medical problems. Talk to him today about adding garlic to your cancer-fighting diet.


« back to Articles