Chop, Crush & Eat Garlic For Better, Improved Health
Written by: Joanne Beccarelli
It’s stinky, but delicious and healthy. So, is eating garlic worth the post-consumption smell? You decide.
Most people agree that garlic tastes great, but believe that it makes them stink so they tend to avoid it, especially when they want to be their kissable best.
But what if I told you that the health benefits that garlic provides are so incredible, that it shouldn’t be pushed aside that nonchalantly? What if I told you it might actually be worth the aftertaste?
It might be a better strategy to just convince everyone around you to eat it too so that you will all be in it together!
Garlic Gets Around, It Always Has
Around the world garlic is a highly used ingredient in many of the most delicious cuisines. It is used raw, cooked and even fermented, adding a robust and pungent flavor to dishes. Yet, garlic has also been used for centuries to help everything from a sore throat to hemorrhoids.
Originating from middle Asia, there are records that garlic was used as a medicine as far back as 5000 years ago. Revered and valued, garlic traveled the trade routes from China to India, Egypt, Babylonia, Greece and Rome. It was universally used to increase strength and endurance for laborers, the military and athletes, perhaps making it the first performance enhancement drug. It was also used for a wide variety of medicinal uses and as a food preservative in a time when freshness was hard to maintain.
But perhaps one of the most telling records of garlic’s importance is that bulbs of garlic were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun.
What We Know About Garlic
Garlic is a perennial herbaceous plant. It grows from an underground bulb, usually called a head, which consists of clustered cloves. Garlic is part of the onion genus, known as allium, making it a cousin to onions, chives, shallots, leeks and lilies.
We know that garlic has beneficial phytonutrients and minerals like manganese, calcium and vitamins B6 and C and is loaded with antioxidants. However, the real power of garlic comes from allicin, which is known to have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Interestingly, allicin is not directly present in garlic, but is derived from the alliinase in the garlic which is activated only when cut or crushed. This is why it is very important to always cut or crush garlic and let it sit before using it in order to trigger creation of the beneficial enzyme, allicin.
Health Benefits Of Garlic
Although the list of historical uses is impressive, it is the current uses and those backed by modern science that bring garlic back into prominence. Use this valuable food by eating it or taking it as a supplement.
Here are some of the top uses and benefits of garlic:
1. Immune Boosting – Garlic is packed with fiber and nutrients like vitamins C and B6, potassium and calcium. Plus, its antibacterial and antiviral properties all contribute to better immunity.
2. Fights Infections – Garlic contains antibacterial, activiral and antifungal properties. Garlic can be used to relieve ear aches, help coughs and eliminate sore throats. From the days of Hippocrates, garlic has been used as an antibiotic. Today, researchers have identified diallyl sulfide found in garlic as more effective in fighting the campylobacter bacteria than conventional modern antibiotics.
3. Supports Heart Health – It can reduce total serum cholesterol and triglycerides and increase good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol). Garlic is also a natural blood thinner and has the additional ability to relax blood vessels, making it effective in lowering blood pressure and also in helping to prevent clotting and decreasing heart damage factors.
4. Reduces Risk Of Cancers – Garlic helps to prevent the growth and spread of tumors and has been tied to reduced risk of certain cancers, including lung, breast, stomach, colon and prostate cancers.
5. Anti-inflammatory – It has been known to help reduce inflammation, especially when consumed raw. In particular, a reduction of osteoarthritis is linked to diets rich in allium vegetables.
It seems that garlic’s historic reputation to help all, or at least quite a bit, is just now beginning to be proven with modern scientific study. This should be enough to convince everyone to find ways to include it in their diets. Whether or not it actually repels vampires or wards off evil spirits is yet to be determined, but with these benefits, I think it certainly makes up for that.
Let me know what ways you use garlic and if you have your own anecdotal proof of these benefits. If you need some ideas, check out these articles:
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Joanne Beccarelli is a holistic health coach, juicing junkie, writer, soon to be cookbook author and recovered emotional eater. Inspired by many great voices in the health-thru-food revolution, Joanne found her way out of hiding in shame (losing almost 100 lbs in the process) and stepped away from the corporate world. She now dedicates every day to helping others who are overwhelmed, overworked, and overstressed, find awareness, fulfilment and better health.
Joanne has a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell/T. Colin Campbell Foundation, and became a Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is also a member of American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP), and the International Association of Health Coaches (IAHC).
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