The Health Benefits of Garlic
NaturalSocietyApril 26, 2012
A common ingredient for sautéing, garlic is a spice relative of onion, leek, chive and shallots. This is a common staple for many savory dishes. Although popular in the kitchen, the health benefits of garlic have also been recognized and taken advantage of since the ancient times, showing countless individuals the compelling reasons to increase garlic consumption.
Benefits of Garlic
Garlic has many well-known health benefits – the most popular being its anti-infection uses. Skin conditions caused by bacteria, virus, fungi or yeast can be treated by rubbing raw chopped garlic on the affected area.
Garlic is great for boosting the immune system, containing high levels of vitamin C and being identified as a serious anti-cancer food. Because of its high potassium content, it can aid in absorption of essential nutrients, and help avoid digestive problems and fatigue as well. Garlic can also help in lung and throat problems due to its pungent smell. Since consuming garlic can irritate the digestive tract because of its pungent smell, a signal travels to the brain to release watery fluid in the lungs to counter the pungent property, thereby helping clear the lungs out of cough and colds.
Adding more to the benefits of garlic list, garlic’s role in the prevention of cancer is perhaps one of the most notorious. Scientists believe that the exceptional anti-cancer properties may have to do with the way that garlic boosts the production of something known as hydrogen sulfide. It is the hydrogen sulfide production that researchers believe to be why garlic is so effective at preventing a wide variety of cancer including, prostate, breast, and colon cancer.
As an antioxidant, garlic can help protect against free radicals, cancer, high cholesterol, and can be used as one of the many home remedies for high blood pressure. It is said that the older the garlic gets, the more antioxidants properties it contain, and the more effectively it works.
To maximize on the health benefits of garlic, let it sit for a few minutes before cooking. Letting garlic sit helps to release the enzymes that provide more nutrients for the body. Raw garlic can be used to kill bacteria, but cooked garlic has more potency in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Optimally, crush the garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. In addition, never cook garlic at high heat — try consuming it raw or cooked lightly. You can consume the spice both ways.
If you are worried about garlic causing bad breathe, you can counter this by consuming garlic prepared as pills or capsules. If you want to get the health benefits from garlic and stave off the odor a different way, consume garlic with parsley, as the herb counters garlic’s bad smell.
These are only some of the health benefits of garlic.
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