Garlic is an essential ingredient in any situation where you have no access to antibiotics – or cannot afford them. Buy heads here for your garden. Turn it into an industry and sell them at your local farmers market (this book will help you do it right).
One medium-sized clove of garlic daily provides health boosting effects. Numerous over-the-counter supplements are available from Amazon as are enteric-coated tablets. Those who don’t like the strong flavour can try deodorised capsules. It is a cornerstone of good health.
This is not myth. Garlic has long been known a medicinal food in the wisest of ancient cultures. For centuries garlic has been used as a medicinal and culinary substance in India, China, Greece and other countries. It has been used as a salve for everything from headaches to colds to infections and healing wounds. It was used to protect against plague by monks in the Middle Ages. Hippocrates used garlic vapors to treat cervical cancer. Garlic poultices were placed on wounds during World War II as an inexpensive and apparently quite effective replacement for antibiotics which were scarce during wartime.
Now science is beginning to prove the medicinal properties of garlic that our ancestors took for granted. Studies have shown garlic can suppress the growth of tumors, and is a potent antioxidant good for cardiovascular health. Perhaps the best to grow for purely medicinal purposes is this one.
Garlic does not make significant nutritional contribution to the diet because the quantities added to recipes are small. But even these nano amounts make a big difference to one’s health.
The biological benefits and the distinct odour of garlic are attributed to the many sulphur containing compounds; one of which is Alliin. This compound is converted to Allicin when garlic is crushed. Allicin is, perhaps, the principal bioactive compound present even in processed garlic.
Limited evidence supports an association between garlic consumption and a reduced risk of colon, prostate, oesophageal, larynx, oral, ovary and other cancers. This is due to diallylsulde, a potent bioactive component. Besides, the plant can also accumulate selenium, a trace element known to possess anti-cancer properties, from the soil.
Curtailing cardiac diseases
One inexpensive way of curtailing cardiovascular diseases is to use generous amounts of garlic in cooking. Garlic consumption inhibits the progression of cardiovascular diseases. It can bring about small reductions in blood pressure. Some studies have shown it to modestly lower cholesterol levels, which is also a protection against cardiac diseases. Animal experiments have associated garlic ingestion with reduction in triglyceride and LDL cholesterol, both of which contribute to atherosclerosis and heart diseases.
Garlic, like aspirin, can reduce the tendency of blood to coagulate and form clots. Many human studies on garlichave shown it has the ability to dissolve blood clots. Pharmaceutical supplements are often used by patients with cardiac and vascular diseases.
Garlic can reduce homocysteine levels in blood. This toxic compound damages the cells that line the blood vessels, induces blood clots, loss of cognition and causes death of nerve cells. People with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have elevated blood homocysteine levels. Damage to nerve cells in Alzheimer’s disease is also due to elevated oxidative stress induced by free radicals. By scavenging free radicals, garlic offers protection from neuronal death, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Garlic is also called ‘Russian penicillin’. Fresh – but not stored or cooked garlic – is an antimicrobial agent against a variety of micro-organisms, including H. Pylori, implicated in gastric cancers. Topical application ofgarlic is effective in treating ringworm. Many studies have shown that garlic has antifungal and antiviral effects.
Adverse effects Are there any adverse effects associated with taking garlic? In some, it can cause mild stomach discomfort, especially when taken on an empty stomach.
Add garlic to meals or sprinkle it on pasta, soups or even chutneys. Swallow a clove of crushed garlic with water. Since garlic is also a blood thinner, people who take aspirin should be careful when including garlic regularly in their diets. Also discontinue garlic at least a week before any surgery.
Did you know?
Garlic can inhibit changes in the DNA and scavenge free radicals; both are implicated in cancers. It can also limit the transition of a normal cell into a cancerous cell, inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and even destroy the cancer cells.
Garlic can reduce plaque formation in blood vessels and help lower blood sugar levels.
Because of its antioxidant properties, regular intake of garlic can reduce the incidence of many age-related disorders such as cataracts, arthritis, and rejuvenate skin and promote blood circulation.
Garlic also promotes liver health and protects the liver from many environmental toxins and drugs such as the commonly used analgesic agent, paracetamol (Crocin, Tylenol).
Garlic contains allicin, an organosulfur compound that scavenges hydroxyl radicals. This process is thought to prevent LDL, the bad type of cholesterol, from being oxidized. (Oxidized LDL contains free radicals that damage the walls of the blood vessels.)
The allicin in garlic increases antioxidant enzymes in your blood. These enzymes help counterthe effects of aging and nicotine.
Garlic helps promote cardiovascular health. It promotes vasodilation, or the widening of blood vessels, which helps blood flow more easily.
Garlic has one percent of the potency of penicillin. That may not sound like much, but this natural germ-fighting quality is important in today’s climate of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Bacteria easily can become resistant to antibiotics … but not to garlic! In numerous studies, garlic has gone up against listeria, salmonella, E. coli, cryptococcal meningitis, Candida albicans, and staphylococcus.
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