Garlic and Onion Aid Mineral Absorption from Foods
Compounds in garlic and onion help boost the bio-accessibility of iron & zinc, key minerals in combating anemia and immune deficits in lesser developed nations.
Residents of lesser developed nations often are deficient in iron and zinc, because the bioavailability of both micronutrients is particularly low from plant foods. Krishnapura Srinivasan from the Central Food Technological Research Institute (India), and colleagues added garlic and onion to rice and sorghum cereals, and chickpea and green gram pulses, and found that iron uptake increased by 70% and zinc uptake rose by up to 160%. The researchers poisit that the high sulfur content in garlic and onion, may be integral to this mineral boosting effect, as sulfur-containing amino acids such as cysteine have previously been shown to boost iron and zinc status in lab animals. Writing that: “both garlic and onion were evidenced here to have a promoting influence on the bioaccessibility of iron and zinc from food grains,” the team urges that: “This novel information has the potential application in evolving a food-based strategy to improve the bioavailability of trace minerals and hence contributes to the human health benefit.”
Smita Gautam, Kalpana Platel, Krishnapura Srinivasan. “Higher Bioaccessibility of Iron and Zinc from Food Grains in the Presence of Garlic and Onion.” J. Agric. Food Chem., July 2, 2010 (Article); DOI: 10.1021/jf100716t.