The healing power of garlic
The healing power of garlic; For thousands of years, garlic has been used for its strong anti-cancerous and anti-fungal properties. Garlic has a unique flavor and taste because of its high sulfur content and nutrients including arginine, oligosaccharides, flavonoids, and selenium.
Various studies have suggested that garlic consumption could reduce cancer risk, especially in gastrointestinal tract. Even during the World War II, Russian soldiers used garlic as an antibiotic when they ran out of penicillin.
Garlic is known to have so many other healing and medicinal properties including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, fighting infection, and boosting the immune system. Garlic also dilutes the blood and has blood thinning effect that is good for lowering the level of cholesterol and reducing the chances of heart problems.
Many doctors recommend aspirin (as blood thinner) for reducing heart disease. But aspirin causes gastric ulcers and interferes with vitamin metabolism. Garlic is an excellent alternative without side effects of drugs like aspirin. Garlic also cleanses the body and prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi.
Several studies have shown that increased garlic intake can reduce the chances of certain cancers including stomach, pancreas, colon, breast and esophagus.
Some studies have even suggested that high intake of raw or cooked garlic can significantly lower the risk of colorectal and stomach tumors.
According to an ongoing study (by The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)), people from 10 different countries are chosen to discover the importance of lifestyle choices and nutrition in reducing cancer risk.
According to researchers, both garlic and onion are known to significantly reduce the risk of intestinal cancer.
Several Chinese studies have also shown that consumption of allium vegetables (including garlic, onions, chives, leeks, and scallions) can significantly lower the risk of stomach tumors.
In another study, higher intake of allium vegetables (more than 10 g per day vs. less than 2.2 g per day, especially garlic and scallions), was linked to 50% reduction in risk of prostate cancer.
A French study also suggests that increased intake of garlic could significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer.
High intake of garlic has also been linked to lower risk of pancreatic cancer risk. In a study performed in San Francisco Bay area, the researchers found out that people who took larger amount of garlic had 54% lower chances of developing pancreatic cancer.
Although usual garlic consumption may rarely cause any issues, consuming too much garlic could cause various side effects like gastrointestinal distress:
You can take garlic in different forms like fresh, essential oil, garlic oil macerate, garlic powder, and garlic extract. Although garlic does not have upper safety limit, consuming mega quantities of garlic may not result in increased benefit.
The suggested dose could depend on how you are taking garlic and should be determined by your doctor.
Too much garlic intake may result in gastrointestinal problems, upset stomach, bad breath and unpleasant body order. As mentioned above, garlic has remarkable blood-thinning properties, but it may also increase the risk of bleeding during or after surgery.
For thousands of years, ancient civilizations including Persians and Greeks knew about the medicinal and healing properties of garlic.
In fact, families in Iran, for Persian New Year known as Norooz (which is the beginning of spring in March 21st) set a beautiful Haft-seen table that includes seven items that specifically starts with the letter S, each of these items representing success and prosperity for the new year.
Garlic (in Persian language known as Syr) happens to be one of the seven items symbolizing medicine:
“People have known garlic was important and has health benefits for centuries,” says Dr. David W. Kraus, associate professor of environmental science and biology at the University of Alabama. “Even the Greeks would feed garlic to their athletes before they competed in the Olympic Games.”
The fact is that more and more studies are pointing out to the healing power of foods, herbs and medicinal knowledge that have existed for thousands of years. In a 2007 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers found out that higher garlic intake can boost our body’s supply of hydrogen sulfide.
Hydrogen sulfide (which is the same as byproduct of refined oil) is actually poisonous in high concentrations. But when the body makes its own supply of hydrogen sulfide, it acts as an antioxidant that can increase the blood flow and relax the blood vessels.
According to researchers, when the extracted garlic juice was added to small amounts of human red blood cells, the cells immediately began to produce hydrogen sulfide.
The researchers believe that garlic’s power to boost body’s natural supply of hydrogen sulfide could explain why a diet that includes garlic is known to protect the body against various cancers including prostate, pancreas and breast.
How to unlock the benefits of garlic, if you are eating it fresh:
I personally love the benefits of both turmeric and garlic and add them to almost every dish that I make. You could also add garlic to vegetable dishes like hummus and enjoy the taste and its health benefits.
Many people or even professional chefs mistakenly cook or add garlic to their dishes right after crushing it or chopping it. To maximize garlic health benefits, you should chop garlic at room temperature and let it sit for 15 minutes.
This gives garlic enough time to release the enzyme known as ‘alliinase’ that produces anti-cancer compounds.
If you are worried about the smell of garlic, you can take garlic-powder pills instead or add fennel seeds like those served in Indian restaurants.