The Most Important Health Benefits of Garlic
While its vampire repelling properties can’t really be put to the test, the health benefits of garlic ceased to be a mystery a long time ago. A rather common type of plant, Allium sativum can offer a great aid against an array of conditions while also preventing others from developing.
Garlic And Cardiovascular Diseases
Leading a healthy lifestyle today can prove difficult. Demanding jobs can be stressful and time consuming. In turn, stress, associated with eating the wrong kind of food at the wrong hours of the day may cause health problems, most of them of a cardiovascular nature. Fast food and highly processed products leave their mark by way of bad cholesterol.
Fortunately, the health benefits of garlic extend to cover heart and circulatory problems. Whether you’re ingesting garlic supplements (extracts), entire garlic cloves or you simply add the plant in your food, garlic is bound to fight against the harmful effects of the disease.
When it comes to cholesterol, it can lower the levels of the bad while staying away from altering levels of HDL cholesterol (the good kind).
Numerous studies have shown that garlic is able to prevent blood clots by expanding blood cells while also mildly lowering blood pressure.
By preventing the hardening of arteries and keeping harmful cholesterol levels in check, Allium sativum is one of the most popular, cheap and natural ways in which to prevent heart disease.
Garlic As an Antibiotic
While the health benefits of garlic are numerous, the most important one is its incredible efficiency as an antibiotic. It can be used to treat anything from the common cold to urinary tract infections, even bacterial forms of prostatitis.
Garlic’s power to battle viruses and harmful bacteria comes from one of its key components, namely, allicin. Unfortunately, for garlic to function as an antibiotic it must either be ingested whole (as a clove) or as a supplement rich in allicin content (odorless garlic supplements have a low level of allicin).
Garlic’s natural antibiotic tends to be elusive. All lifeforms (be they plants or mammals) have an inbuilt defense mechanism against predators. In garlic’s case, allicin acts like a pesticide. Once the bulb is hurt, the substance is released and proceeds to quickly evaporate. Needless to say, if you cut cloves and throw them in a boiling pot, you won’t be benefiting from the antibiotic properties.
Recent studies have shown that allicin itself tends to be more efficient than antibiotics produced by pharmaceutical companies in regards to eliminating urinary tract, vaginal and prostate infections. That’s simply because garlic itself is a plant, one we’ve been ingesting for many generations. Our immune system does not perceive it as foreign and doesn’t try to resist it (as it does with standard medication). This allows allicin to reach deeper and work more effectively.
Garlic And Cancer Prevention
While it may not be as strong as other types of plants when in comes to a specific type of cancer prevention, research proves that a high intake of garlic aids in preventing almost all forms of cancer, including rectal, bladder, colon and stomach cancer. While a number of studies claim that garlic aids in preventing breast and prostate cancer also, other research states that it has no effect against them. A reduced garlic intake only helps against colon and rectal cancer.
Allium sativum has a rich B6 vitamin content, a vitamin that is known to help with the prevention. The other essential ingredient is the allyl sulfide, one that is able to trigger a series of events inside the body, events that end up with the elimination of badly functioning cells.
If you want to fully enjoy the health benefits of garlic, it is best to ingest it in its raw form, preferably without cutting the clove. If that sounds too unpleasant, supplements tend to be easier easier the stomach. Most extracts on the market emulate a clove with all its contents. The natural antibiotic, allicin, is carefully extracted in a laboratory environment and added to the supplement.
Although incredibly beneficial for our overall health, garlic should be used in moderation. Large quantities may bring with them a series of effects that cause more harm than good. Doctors recommend ingesting no more than 3 or 4 cloves (or their equivalent) a day.