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Garlic



Garlic may be little but it packs a big punch! Garlic is filled with vitamins and minerals including: vitamins B and C, manganese, selenium, iron, copper and potassium. The biggest benefit we receive from garlic is from allicin, a sulfur containing natural compound found in garlic that has many health benefits.


Allicin plays a role in heart health, cancer treatment, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammation. The major role of Allicin in heart health comes from its ability to lower cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, and decrease atherosclerosis (plaque on blood vessels). All of these issues can lead to heart disease including heart attacks.


Allicin has properties that can cause cell death which comes in handy when fighting cancer cells. Allicin in garlic, is linked in clinical studies to slowing and even stopping the progression of cancerous tumors. In addition, the overall health benefits of garlic can help prevent cancer in the first place.


In order for plants to survive over time they evolved to have characteristics that could fight bacteria and fungi which posed a real threat to the plants health and continued existence. Garlic is no exception and may be one of the most evolved plants because of the production of allicin which has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Allicin works so well against bacteria it plays a beneficial role aiding in the treatment of antibiotic resistant infections like MRSA. Additionally garlic can be used in the prevention or treatment of fungal infections.


Garlic also has anti-inflammatory characteristics which can help boost your immune system and overall health. Without getting too deep into the biology of your body, many systems work together to leave you feeling heathy and functioning at the highest level possible. Keeping systemic inflammation in check will help your body function well.


So, now that we know what a super-power garlic is, how can we get the most benefits? First, research shows a greater benefit from the use of fresh garlic than the use of garlic supplements. The supplement industry is not highly regulated and is therefore not a reliable source for allicin or the other health benefits found from consuming garlic.


Second fresh un-cooked garlic has the greatest health benefit. This may not be good news if your worried about your breath or just don’t like the taste of raw garlic but don’t fret. There is a trick to getting the most allicin out of garlic you plan to use in cooking. Crush the garlic about 15 min before you need to use it. This will allow the allicin to be released and still provide health benefits once cooked.


Garlic should be used in combination with nutrient rich diet and overall healthy lifestyle. Consult a healthcare practitioner if you are suffering from cancer or heart disease before implementing or replacing any existing treatment plan with garlic.


Resources:

1.    Borlinghaus J, Albrecht F, Gruhlke MC, Nwachukwu ID, Slusarenko AJ. Allicin: chemistry and biological properties. Molecules. 2014;19(8):12591-12618. Published 2014 Aug 19. doi:10.3390/molecules190812591

2.    Lawson LD, Hunsaker SM. Allicin Bioavailability and Bioequivalence from Garlic Supplements and Garlic Foods. Nutrients. 2018;10(7):812. Published 2018 Jun 24. doi:10.3390/nu10070812

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