Garlic : A Gift for Good Health
Garlic belongs to the Alliaceae family of vegetables, which also includes leeks, onions, and chives. The sulfur content of garlic delivers its pungent taste and odor. It contains antioxidant flavonoids and the mineral selenium, which are known for their advantageous effects.
But what are the specific health benefits of garlic? There has been quite a bit of scientific study on this topic for the last several decades. Garlic shows both anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. In fact, one of garlic’s main medicinal uses throughout its long history has been to combat gastrointestinal parasites. Recent research also points to garlic’s positive effect on cardiovascular health and how it may prevent some cancers.
Garlic Keeps You Young at Heart:
For heart health, garlic helps open blood vessels and lowers LDL (“Bad”) cholesterol as well as cutting overall levels of cholesterol. The best available evidence suggests that garlic, in an amount approximating one half to one whole clove per day, decreased total serum cholesterol levels by about 9% in patients studied. It can also reduce triglycerides, a type of fat that can contribute to coronary artery disease when it circulates at elevated levels.
Garlic and Cancer Prevention:
Substances within garlic seem to have the ability to repair damaged DNA and block cancer cell development and spread. Research indicates that increasing garlic consumption may lower the incidence of cancer of the breast, pancreas, stomach and colon. Recently scientists discovered a clue to garlic’s potency and it may be related to the speed of specific chemical reactions. Research conducted in Canada published that allicin, a compound found in garlic, starts to decay it creates an acid that attacks dangerous free radicals faster than any know antioxidant substance.
Proof of AGE:
In particular, aged garlic extract (AGE) seems to provide the greatest health benefits. Substantial experimental evidence shows the ability of AGE to protect against oxidant-induced disease, acute damage from aging, radiation and chemical exposure and long term toxic damage. It is also attributed to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and aging, including the oxidant-mediated brain cell damage that is implicated with Alzheimer’s disease.
A Clove a Day:
How much garlic do you need to consume daily to enjoy these therapeutic benefits? According to the World Health Organization, for general promotion:
- Fresh Garlic: 2 to 5 grams (approx. one clove)
- Dried Garlic Powder: 1.2 grams
- Garlic Oil: 2 to 5 milligrams
- Garlic Extract: 300-1,000 milligrams