LONDON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- A diet high in allium vegetables -- garlic, onions and leeks -- may help protect against hip osteoarthritis, British researchers say.
Researchers at King's College London and the University of East Anglia in Norwich linked women consuming a diet high in allium vegetables and lower levels of hip osteoarthritis.
The findings, published in the BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders journal, found a compound in garlic -- diallyl disulphide -- had a limiting effect on the amount of cartilage-damaging enzymes in human cartilage.
"While we don't yet know if eating garlic will lead to high levels of this component in the joint, these findings may point the way towards future treatments and prevention of hip osteoarthritis," lead author Dr. Frances Williams says in a statement. "Many researchers have tried to find dietary components influencing the condition, but this is the first large scale study of diet in twins."
Williams and colleagues studied more than 1,000 healthy female twins -- including assessments to determine the extent of early osteoarthritis in their hips, knees and spine.