A list of all of all the garlic health benefits we know of would be quite long indeed. Garlic is one of the oldest forms of natural herbal remedies. It's been used throughout recorded history to treat various conditions including heart disease, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, cold, flu, indigestion, tumors, diabetes and more.
Garlic is a powerful antioxidant with an amazing array of healing properties. Its antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic and antiviral properties can protect you against a wide variety of harmful, disease-causing microbes and organisms.
Garlic, known botanically as Allium sativum, is a species of the onion family called. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, and chive.
Many of the health benefits of garlic that have been studied come from garlic's abundant antioxidant nutrients. Garlic also contains enzymes, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and selenium. Vitamins in garlic include vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
Garlic contains dozens of bioflavonoids, more than 80 sulfur-containing compounds, and many other beneficial compounds that have never been identified. This makes it impossible to determine exactly which compound, or set of compounds, is responsible for the numerous garlic health benefits. This is one herb that you should absolutely have in your daily diet.
If you want the benefits of garlic without the social stigma, you can try using garlic extracts instead.
Garlic Gives Other Antioxidants a Boost. Because garlic is rich in selenium, it helps to boost the effectiveness of the network antioxidants — vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione, lipoic acid and coenzyme Q-10. As you can see, selenium packs a big punch for something categorized as a micronutrient.
Multiple scientific studies have demonstrated powerful garlic health benefits that can prevent heart disease. Garlic reduces free radicals that cause the oxidation of cholesterol and cell membrane damage, the real cause of arteriosclerosis and heart disease.
Studies suggest that garlic prevents buildup of plaque in arteries, and may even reduce it. In Germany, garlic supplements are licensed as drugs for the treatment of arteriosclerosis.
Garlic also assists in metabolizing fat: it increases breakdowns of lipids and enhances elimination of fat from the body.
Garlic Instead of Aspirin to Prevent Heart Attacks. Garlic contains a chemical compound called allicin, which gets converted to another compound called ajoene when garlic is crushed or minced. Ajoene works as a blood thinner and is said to be as potent as aspirin as an anti-clotting substance, without the dangerous side effects of aspirin.
More information on garlic and heart disease.
Studies have shown that benefits of garlic extend to the prevention of cancer. Although scientists don't why exactly garlic has an ability to prevent cancer, an examination of the amazing phytonutrient content of garlic would leave us with good reason to believe that garlic would be a potent anti-cancer food.
Epidemiological studies from all over the world have shown a garlic health benefit against cancer – subjects who ate more garlic suffered a significantly lower incidence of cancer. Typically, these people ate much more garlic than most people would want to, five cloves or more a day. However, with the availability of odor-free garlic capsules today, there is no reason to avoid adding the health benefits of garlic to your diet.
More information on garlic and cancer prevention.
Garlic is a powerful antioxidant with an amazing list of healing properties: it destroys bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. The allicin in raw garlic has been shown to kill 23 types of bacteria, including salmonella and staphylococcus. Garlic also destroys viral infections such as chicken pox, measles, mumps, scarlet fever and others.
Garlic has thus been a popular remedy for the common cold, sore throats and coughs. It has been used as a remedy for respiratory problems, as it acts as an expectorant.
Advantages in Using Garlic Instead of Antibiotics. When used internally to fight harmful microorganisms like bacteria, fungi and parasites, garlic has several advantages over prescription antibiotic drugs.
First and foremost, being a natural food, garlic offers no dangerous side effects. It's very inexpensive and can be easily incorporated into meals.
Another advantage garlic has over drugs is that it destroys only the harmful microorganisms in the body, leaving the good and friendly bacteria untouched — actually helping them to thrive. This is extremely important because prescription antibiotics wipe out the good bacteria in your body, leaving you susceptible to problems such as digestive ailments, infections and candida yeast overgrowth. This is why it's always recommended to take probiotic supplements after you've gone through a treatment of antibiotics.
Studies show that the harmful bacteria do not develop a resistance to garlic, as they do with prescription antibiotics. With antibiotics, bacteria and viruses very often mutate into stronger and more drug-resistant strains. When subsequent use of prescription antibiotics no longer work, your illness gets worse.
Garlic Boosts Your Immune System. Garlic is a powerful immune system booster. It increases the production of interferon (an antiviral compound), which improves the action of your white blood cells. Interferon and white blood cells are critical components of your body’s immune system.
Garlic Candida Overgrowth/Yeast Infections. Garlic health benefits include its use as an effective treatment against yeast infections caused by candida albicans. As mentioned above, this is a yeast organism often linked to an overuse of antibiotics.
Garlic and Parasites. Garlic has been used as a treatment for intestinal parasites, both orally and as an anal suppository. Garlic cloves are often used as a remedy for infections (especially chest problems), digestive disorders, and fungal infections such as thrush.
Garlic and Diabetes. Garlic health benefits also extend to diabetes. As mentioned above, garlic contains a chemical compound called allicin. Allicin combines with vitamin B1 (thiamine) to stimulate the pancreas to release insulin. Garlic can be of great benefit in treating people suffering from insulin-dependent diabetes.
Garlic and Indigestion. The most common active ingredient in garlic, allicin, stimulates the secretion of digestive juices in the stomach. It also interacts with certain proteins to help provide relief from both constipation and diarrhea.
Fresh garlic is, of course, best. If you're going to use garlic powder daily, you'll need to get more than those small bottles you see at the supermarket. Those won't go far and will cost much more by the pound than if you buy in bulk. Fortunately, I've got a wonderful source online for premium-quality organic garlic powder from Starwest Botanicals.
Starwest Botanicals started as a small retail herb shop in 1975 in Sacramento, California. From the beginning, they chose to focus on quality, and built their own herb mill to have more control over the finished products.
Today, Starwest is one of the largest suppliers of organic herbs in the United States, with over a million pounds of herbs and spices in stock.
Eating a lot of garlic is socially unacceptable in most cultures because of garlic's strong odor-causing properties. Garlic supplements can fill the bill because they're processed to remove the odor, while still retaining all of garlic's health benefits. And because you don't have to worry about bad breath, you can consume much higher amounts.
See my page on the Benefits of Garlic Supplements to learn more about them.
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