Garlic is a powerhouse super food that can wipe out unwanted visitors in the body and prevent disease. Garlic has been used throughout recorded history for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Its pungent, spicy flavour adds a kick to any dish. Just one clove a day will provide your body with vitamins A, B and C, as well as a vast array of minerals including selenium, iodine, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium.
Garlic is generally regarded as more beneficial when it is fresh out of the bulb. Within a short time of being smashed it begins to lose it potency. Some of the healing benefits of garlic include:
Garlic prevents free radical damage to protect against aging and disease. It fights against the oxidative damage from the environment and cigarette smoke. Garlic contains allicin, which increases blood levels of two powerful antioxidant enzymes: catalase and glutathione peroxidase. Because of its free radical power, it prevents aging, keeping the body detoxified and youthful.
Research shows that the antioxidant allicin is anti cancerous. When the garlic is eaten, a chemical reaction occurs which can kill tumors. Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill analyzed 18 studies looking at garlic eaters and revealed that high people who ate a high amount of raw or cooked garlic had a decreased risk of colorectal cancer of 10% to nearly 50%. It also showed that the risk of developing stomach cancer halved for those who consumed the most garlic.
Slashes the Risk of Heart Disease
According to scientists at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York, the compounds in garlic may play a significant role in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Garlic lowers LDL "bad" cholesterol and blood pressure. A study published in the Journal of the Royal College of Physicians reviewed data on cholesterol and found that after just four weeks there was a 12 per cent reduction in cholesterol levels in the research groups that had taken garlic. And a study in the Journal of Hypertension showed that taking garlic tablets cut volunteers' blood pressure by between one and five per cent. It is also a natural blood thinner, which means that it can reduce the incidence of blood clots, leading to stroke and thrombosis.
Fights Colds, the Flu and Parasites
Garlic is one of nature's antibiotics because it fights against bacteria, virus, and protozoa (a type of parasite) in the body. Yet there are no nasty side effects as there are with taking antibiotics so there is not risk of wiping out good bacteria, lowering the immune system or building up a resistance.
A recent study found that the daily intake of garlic reduced the risk of volunteers catching a cold by half. The researchers also discovered that even when those who did catch the cold got over it quicker than the subjects who did not take garlic.
This potent super food also contains anti-fungal properties which can be great for yeast infection. Some women have even had success using garlic as a pessary when they get thrush.