Did you know that garlic is one of the most ancient medicinal foods in the world? In the ancient world, garlic was fed to soldiers and slaves to keep them in good health. Today it is available in all kinds of tasty dishes, but the best way to get the maximum benefits of garlic is eat it raw and crushed. Like most vegetables, its potency is harmed when cooked.
The key compound in garlic is an amino acid called allicin. When raw garlic is crushed or chopped, alliin reacts with the enzyme allinase. Garlic was designed so that the alliin and the allinase were in different parts of the garlic plant. They are meant to react and protect the garlic plant when it was crushed. Together the action of the enzyme allinase with the amino acid, alliin produces allicin. Allicin is what is responsible for the amazing health benefits of raw garlic. If you were to eat raw garlic whole without crushing it, you would miss the good benefits of it! So always crush the garlic or chop it fine to get the benefits. It is best to use garlic as fresh as possible as allicin starts to diminish quickly after its produced.
Did you know that garlic lowers cholesterol? The Journal of the Royal College of Physicians, supplements of garlic were given for 4 weeks and they were shown to lower total serum cholesterol levels by 12 percent. Plus the garlic raised the HDL cholesterol, the good, protective cholesterol, by 4 to 15 percent. It also lowers triglyceride levels by up to 17 percent.
Raw garlic can also reduce plaque. The allicin helps to prevent platelets in the blood from sticking together.
Garlic is also a good preventative for the common cold. Raw garlic exerts antimicrobial activity against viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi. It’s good for lungs, and for treating asthma, bronchitis, inflammation, rashes, bug bites, toothaches, ear infections and other infections including Staph and MRSA. Unlike antibiotics that actually weaken your immune system, garlic actually boosts your immune system.
In 2008, Dr. Ron Cutler and the University of East London released the results from a human clinical study performed on 52 patients with hospital-acquired MRSA. All 52 patients were treated with a form of stabilized allicin and recovered fully from their MRSA infections. Many of the wounds healed in just 4 to 12 weeks and many of the patients had previously been treated with multiple antibiotics with no improvement.
EPIC, The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition conducted a study with women and men from 10 different countries. Results showed that higher consumption of garlic and onion were associated with a reduced risk of intestinal cancer.
The Iowa Women’s Study reported results from their study “women who consumed the highest amounts of garlic had a 50 percent lower risk of cancer of the distal colon compared with women who had the lowest level of garlic consumption.”
Studies in China found that frequent consumption of garlic, onions, and chives was associated with reduced risk of esophageal and stomach, and prostate cancer.
A study conducted in the San Francisco Bay area found that pancreatic cancer risk was 54 percent lower in people who ate larger amounts of garlic compared with those who ate lower amounts.
In France, a study found that increased garlic consumption was associated with a statistically significant reduction in breast cancer risk. After considering total calorie intake and other established risk factors, breast cancer risk was reduced in those consuming more significant amounts of fiber, garlic, and onions.
Several population studies show an association between increased intake of garlic and reduced risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast cancer.
Convinced that you should never pass on the garlic? I am. I think we should eat garlic as often as possible, who cares if we stink! We will be boosting our immune systems and reaping all kinds of wonderful health benefits. So eat garlic often!