Even though eating garlic gives smelly breath it is definitely worth consuming the vegetable on a daily basis as it has so many health benefits.
Garlic is one of the most valuable and versatile foods on the planet. It belongs to the Allium family of vegetables which also includes onions, chives, shallots and leeks.
Nowadays garlic is being recognized as a health enhancing supplement. It promotes the well-being of the heart and immune systems with antioxidant properties and helps maintain healthy blood circulation. One of garlic’s most potent health benefits includes the ability to enhance the body’s immune cell activity.
There are also over 12 studies published around the world that confirm that garlic can reduce cholesterol.
Benefits Of Garlic
1. Eating Garlic Repels Mosquitos
According to a nutrition specialist from Colorado University, sweating garlic may actually act as a natural mosquito repellent. Apparently, mosquitoes can smell the carbon dioxide and lactic acid on our breath up to 40 yards away. The scent of garlic on our breath and skin may confuse these nasty pests so much that they won’t be able to find and bite their human prey. Maybe eating garlic should become a tradition before your annual camping trip.
2. Natural Antibiotic
Garlic is also a natural antibiotic. In fact, British medics used garlic as an antibiotic to treat wounded soldiers in WWII. One of the real advantages of using garlic in this way is that the bacteria in our bodies doesn’t develop resistance to it, so it is effective over time, unlike many antibiotic drugs.
A group of researchers led by Xiaonan Lu of Washington State University isolated a compound found in garlic called diallyl sulphide. They tested it as an antibiotic against Campylobacter bacteria. This bacteria is one of the most common causes of food-borne illness in the US and affects 2.4 million Americans every year. The researchers found that diallyl sulphide was 100 times more effective at killing the bacteria than two other common antibiotics. That’s powerful stuff!
3. Anti Cancer
Garlic has germanium in it. Germanium is an anti-cancer agent, and garlic has more of it than any other herb. In fact, garlic has also been shown to retard tumor growth in human subjects in some parts of the world.
Current research has shown that a number of readily available foods such as garlic and onions that make up a healthy diet, actually have a major impact on cancer prevention. The protective effect of garlic seems to be greater than that of onions, even though onion consumption has been shown to reduce the risk of stomach cancer. These cancer fighting foods seem to have the ability to interfere with the development of cancerous tumors.
The October 2000 issue of the American Journal of Nutrition had a summary of a number epidemiologic studies which showed that people who consumed cooked or raw garlic on a regular basis compared to those that ate little or none had about half the risk of stomach cancer and one-third less risk of colorectal cancer.
This remarkable little bulb now tops the American National Cancer Institute’s list of potential cancer-preventative foods. It contains multiple anticancer compounds and antioxidants, more than 30 at the last count, which such powerful compounds as quercetin, diallyl sulphide,allin and ajoene. These have the ability to block cancer causing agents such as nitrosamine and aflatoxin which have been specifically linked to stomach, lung and liver cancer. Garlic’s ajoene and allicin have also been shown to retard cancer cells as a type of natural chemotherapy.
The Iowa Women’s Health Study discovered that women who included garlic in their daily diet had lower risks for colon cancer.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Another benefit of garlic is it helps regulate the body’s blood pressure. So whether you have problems with low or high blood pressure, garlic can help equalize it.
Garlic helps strengthen your body’s defenses against allergies; helps loosen plaque from the artery walls; helps regulate your blood sugar levels; and is the best choice for killing and expelling parasites such as pin worms from the human body.
Boosts Immune System
Garlic has a very positive effect on the immune system in general and can protect the body against all types of bacterial and viral attacks. Research has recently even shown it to have an inhibiting effect on MSRA which is a disease that is picked up in hospitals.
Garlic also acts as a good cold medication, decongestant and expectorant. It is a surprisingly good source of vitamins C, B6 and the minerals selenium and manganese all of which have long been associated with immune system boosting as well as other benefits.
In addition to all these health benefits, garlic is packed with vitamins and nutrients. Some of these include protein, potassium, Vitamins A, B, B2 and C, Calcium, Zinc and many others.
Good For Your Heart
The positive effect of garlic on your circulatory system is extremely well documented and it has been proved to:
lower blood pressure
decrease platelet aggregation
lower serum triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol ( the bad type) levels
increase serum HDL-cholesterol (the good type) and fibrinolysis (the process through which the body breaks up blood clots.)
Plus it stimulates the production of nitric oxide in the lining of blood vessel walls, a substance that helps them to relax.
As a result of these beneficial actions garlic helps to prevent arteriosclerosis and thereby reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Two or three cloves a day have cut the risk of subsequent heart attacks in half in heart patients.
Helps Control Weight
Allicin is the most potent substance found in garlic and this has been shown to not only lower blood pressure, insulin and triglyceride levels in laboratory animals fed a sugar rich diet, but also to prevent weight gain.
A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension reported that animals who developed high insulin levels, high blood pressure, and high triglycerides were given either allicin or served as a control.
Although all of the animals consumed the same amount of food, weight rose only in the control group whereas the animals who were being supplemented with allicin maintained stable weight or a slight decrease was actually noticed.
The researchers concluded that allicin may be of practical value for weight control.
Some Garlic Facts
Garlic and onions are toxic to cats and dogs.
Garlic can thin the blood similar to the effect of aspirin.
Drinking lemon juice or eating a few slices of lemon will stop bad garlic breath.
It is traditional to plant garlic on the shortest day of the year. Whether this is for symbolic or practical reasons is unclear.
So there it you have it, garlic has some pretty incredible health benefits. Did I forget to mention it also keeps vampires at bay?