Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States and affects millions of people around the world, both in developed and developing countries. While smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke is the leading cause of lung cancer, exposure to asbestos or other environmental pollutants can also lead to this disease; it can also be idiopathic, meaning doctors cannot explain why the cancer has developed.
The best treatment for cancer and many other diseases remains prevention. And new research has revealed that garlic consumption may play a significant role in preventing this common and often deadly form of cancer. The implications of this study could be huge for those wanting to naturally reduce their cancer risk.
New Research out of China
This new study, recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Cancer Prevention Research, is coming out of the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control. The study was a survey of 1,424 lung cancer patients and 4,500 healthy adults and interviewed participants in regards to many aspects of their lifestyle and diet, including smoking habits and how much or how frequently they consumed garlic.
The results stunned the researchers, who discovered that participants who consumed raw garlic at least twice a week had a whopping 44% reduction in risk for lung cancer development compared to those who did not consume garlic regularly. Even more surprisingly, it was found that, even among those who smoked, this twice-weekly garlic consumption was able to reduce cancer risk by 33%. The researchers concluded that based on these numbers, garlic had protective properties that helped to ward off the development of lung cancer.
Why Garlic Helps Prevent Lung Cancer
The scientists in this study speculate that the reason for garlic’s ability to protect against lung cancer (even among smokers) lies in allicin, garlic’s main bioactive compound that has been shown in other studies to have anti-carcinogenic properties. Allicin is both a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. Thus, it can reduce inflammation and irritation in the lungs which can lead to cancer while at the same time reducing potential damage to the lung tissue caused by free radicals. It is a real testament to garlic’s chemoprotective properties that it is even able to help prevent lung cancer in those who smoke.
The researchers add that more studies should be done on this issue to find out more about the specific mechanisms of these protective properties and also to determine if other active compounds in the garlic may also play a role in cancer prevention.
In conclusion, however, it is obvious, based upon this study, that the link between garlic consumption and a reduced cancer risk is well-established. Especially for smokers or those who have been exposed to secondhand smoke or other environmental toxins, consuming raw garlic in salads, casseroles and other dishes may well be a good health investment to make to prevent the onset of this serious respiratory condition.
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