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Garlic and Onions May Battle One of the Most Prevalent Worldwide Deficiencies

Researchers from the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore, India recently found that garlic and onions may dramatically increase iron and zinc uptake when consuming cereals.

Iron deficiency, also known as anemia, affects about two billion people around the world, approximately 1/3 of the world’s population. Zinc deficiency affects 30% of the world’s population.

These new findings, which were published in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, may help reduce those staggering rates.

For the study the researchers used a model gut that mimics the digestive system of a human. The researchers passed cooked and raw rice and sorghum through the gut with two levels of onions and garlic. The onion levels were 1.5 and 3g per 10 g of grain and the garlic levels were 0.25 and 0.5g per 10g of grain.

The researchers observed up to a 70% increase in the uptake of iron and up to a 160% increase in the uptake of zinc from cooked and raw cereals in the presence of both onions and garlic.

According to the researchers, these results may be due to the fact that onions and garlic have high sulfur content. Previous animal studies have shown that sulfur boosts zinc and iron uptake.

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