Benefits of Garlic
While studying human nutrition and biochemistry one of the most researched and talked about super-foods was garlic. Historically, it has a very interesting background in the medical field being used for centuries. So, I thought it would be good to revisit and talk about the benefits of garlic and garlic supplementation.
Garlic and Cancer Prevention
Numerous population based studies have suggested that regular consumption of garlic may reduce the risk of several types of cancer including colorectal and stomach cancers. The American National Cancer Institute is currently conducting heavy research on cancer and it’s possible ability to block cancer causing agents.
One notable mention is that of garlic being able to reduce the carcinogenic (cancer producing) chemicals of meat cooked at high temperatures. So if you’re a barbecue fan, it might be a good idea to smother the meat with garlic before cooking (heck, it’ll definitely make it taste better too!).
Garlic and Cardiovascular Health
One of the clearest benefits of garlic, is that of it’s positive effect on your heart and circulatory system. Research has shown that garlic can reduce blood pressure (systolic), prevent plaque formation, lower cholesterol (LDL) and enhance the structure of your blood vessels.
Researchers are studying to see how garlic has this effect, they believe that it may be it’s ablity to reduce the amount of damaging free radicals in the blood stream.
Note: Garlic is known to thin blood which although may have benefits for healthy people, can have an adverse reaction to people on heart medication including even Aspirin.
Garlic and Immune System
Garlic’s rich presence of antioxidants have been shown to have a very positive effect on the immune system and can potentially protect the body against bacterial infections and viruses. More research is being done on the benefits of garlic and the immune system, but it’s interesting o note that in 2003 a microbiologist in London discovered that garlic was able to cure patients with antibiotic resistant bacteria (known as MSRA). He has backed this up with laboratory trials and is currently in development of hospital soaps that could eliminate this life threatening bacteria.
Some doctors are still sceptical on benefits of garlic, but you’ll have to do the research and decide for yourself. Personally, I’ve found garlic to help me when I feel like I’m coming down with a cold and having lived in the Mediterranean as a child I noticed the healthiest and oldest populations had garlic as a staple in their diet.
Again if you’re on heart medication or taking aspirin regularly you should consult with a physician on what amount of garlic is safe on a daily count. I believe 1 clove a day would definitely be deemed healthy and not have any reactions and yet still be able to provide you with all the benefits.
Of course, you can also buy garlic supplements which have been coated and are odor free. Here are a couple best sellers that I recommend: