The health and medicinal benefits of garlic are so vast that this tasty little clove may begin to seem like a miracle.
Whether raw, cooked, dried, powdered, or in the form of garlic oil or garlic supplements, eating garlic every day can help maintain and improve our health.
Garlic has been found to be rich in a number of powerful compounds including allicin, alliin and ajoene, which give garlic many of its health-promoting qualities.
Garlic is also a good source of selenium, vitamins C and B6, and a very good source of manganese, all excellent for preventing disease and maintaining health.
The Health and Medicinal Benefits of Garlic
Garlic and Heart Disease Prevention
Garlic is a true super food when it comes to heart disease. Numerous studies have shown that regular consumption of garlic can lower our blood pressure.
It also prevents the blood from being overly sticky and decreases LDL cholesterol (the “bad” one) while increasing the good HDL cholesterol. That makes eating garlic good for high blood pressure, preventing heart attacks and stroke and preventing “hardening” of the arteries.
The vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and selenium in garlic also boost its heart healthy properties.
Vitamin C is known to protect LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and damaging our blood vessels. Garlic is a very good source of vitamin C.
The vitamin B6 in garlic lowers levels of homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine damages the walls of our blood vessels and causes heart disease.
Manganese helps increase the level of HDL cholesterol in our bodies. So there is a real link between consumption of garlic and cholesterol levels.
Garlic and Cancer
The selenium in garlic not only protects us from heart disease but also helps prevent cancer and toxicity from heavy metals in our bodies. Selenium has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer and help protect against stomach cancer. The ajoene in garlic is showing some promise in the treatment of skin cancer.
Garlic and Diabetes
Garlic oil may be able to help protect diabetics from developing several major side effects of this disease, including kidney disease, nervous system damage and eye damage. Garlic extract may be able to help prevent heart disease in diabetics.
Garlic’s Antibiotic, Anti-inflammatory and Anti-viral Properties
Garlic contains compounds that will help to reduce inflammation. This with the vitamin C that is also found in garlic, may help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Allicin in garlic has been found to be a powerful antibacterial and antiviral. Working with the vitamin C in garlic, allicin has been shown to be helpful in fighting against common infections like stomach viruses, colds, flu and Candida yeast.
Garlic and Weight Loss
Preliminary evidence is showing that the allicin in garlic may help to prevent weight gain.
An added bonus: Cooking meat with garlic appears to reduce the cancer causing chemicals found in meat after grilling at high temperatures.
Ways to get more super food garlic into your everyday diet:
- Add chopped garlic to your oil and vinegar salad dressing.
- Cut slits into roast beef, steak or pork roast before cooking and put slivers of garlic into the slits. See the note above about the health benefits of garlic in cooking meat. Try our recipe for Roast Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic.
- Chopped garlic in scrambled eggs? Amazingly delicious. Fry finely chopped garlic just a bit to soften before adding eggs. Great with chopped onion and some cheese too.
- Partially cook green beans and sauté them with chopped garlic and olive oil or butter.
- Make bruschetta for a taste treat and enjoy garlic both on the bread and in the healthy tomato topping.
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