5 Surprising Health Benefits of Garlic
Research supports that garlic lowers blood pressure, aids diabetes management, and reduces the risk of colorectal cancer.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is an herbal plant that through the ages has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes. The active ingredient to blame for the smell and taste of garlic – allicin – rapidly breaks down to the antioxidant sulfenic acid that neutralizes damaging free radicals in the body. In addition, the allicin has antimicrobial properties to ward off infections.
Allicin is Antimicrobial
Garlic has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, with the antiviral component helping to lessen and defend against colds. Some advice for home treatment at the onset of regular colds is to crush two daily cloves of garlic – to release allicin – and, to avoid garlic-breath, spread the cloves on sandwiches or mix in applesauce. Garlic Capsules are also available.
Garlic (allicin) has antibacterial action against, for example, Helicobacter pylori – the bacterium responsible for most ulcers and stomach inflammation. The research reported in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy found the antibacterial result in the lab with fresh garlic or capsules. Regarding antifungal properties, allicin heals, for instance, the common athlete’s foot.
Garlic Lowers Blood Pressure
Proponents of garlic have maintained over the years that the herb benefits heart health by lowering LDL cholesterol, lowering triglycerides and raising HDL cholesterol. Nevertheless, in recent studies, results showed there was no effect on any of the three blood measurements. However, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a study found that garlic juice relaxes blood vessels that results in increased blood flow with a resultant lowered blood pressure.
Garlic Aids Diabetes
Allicin helps diabetics manage their disease by decreasing a dangerous build-up of blood glucose and increased levels of insulin. Type 2 diabetics do not make enough insulin to control glucose, or cell receptors refuse what is made. So increasing levels of insulin lets diabetics have more management control.
Researchers are excited about a possible oral diabetes drug based on two natural substances found in garlic – allicin, and vanadium. In a mice study, both type l and type 2 diabetics were helped. Type 1 patients must currently use daily injections of insulin. Human clinical trials are in the works.
Garlic Blocks Cancer
In animal and lab studies, scientists find garlic has a preventive effect on stomach and colorectal cancers. Reported in the Journal of Nutrition, a review of 19 studies found the results. In the Journal of Nutrition, a review of the previous 10 years concluded that there is reliable scientific evidence that garlic reduces the risk of colorectal cancer in animals and humans.
Garlic Enhances Health
There is scientific proof that the wonder herb garlic reduces blood pressure, benefits diabetes, and decreases the risk of colorectal cancer – although more clinical trials need to be done. Garlic is a potent antimicrobial for use with, for example, colds, athlete’s foot, and ulcers.
Instead of waiting for a cold to arrive, eat fresh garlic or take garlic capsules (available in odor-free) regularly for general health, just as one would take a multivitamin. Experts say to let crushed garlic sit for 10 minutes before cooking, to let inactive chemicals become active.
Garlic Helps with Weight Loss
Garlic offers several benefits when incorporated into a healthy and balanced diet. It is loaded with vitamin B6, Vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and calcium – – all of which play a major role in weight management. Just about any form of garlic offers dieters many benefits. If you enjoy the taste of garlic, use it liberally in your food.
Garlic Safety Issues
This is an educational article only. Because garlic is anti-clotting, it works like aspirin or drugs in thinning blood. Garlic can interfere with HIV/AIDS medicine. Do not use if allergic to sulfur. Garlic can affect diabetes medicines. See your health care provider before taking garlic capsules.
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Autumn lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and children. She is a travel addict, self-professed foodie and has an obsession with cycle/spin classes.
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