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The Amazing Garlic!

Do you use garlic every day?

Growing up, my father was a great believer in the healing properties garlic but I don’t remember our family eating a lot of it, though I do remember him taking the capsules, those big gel ones.

If you don't like the taste of garlic, take the capsules
If you don’t like the taste of garlic, take the capsules

I have known for years that garlic has antibacterial properties and that it is a great immune booster.

Hippocrates, the Greek physician, said, ‘let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’.  As a doctor, he actually prescribed eating garlic to heal a variety of illnesses.

Garlic is known for its distinctive flavour and is probably one of my favourite ingredients; I even put it in my macaroni and cheese! It is only in more modern history though, that we find garlic used for flavouring and not for medicinal purposes.

One of the most important bottles in my spice cupboard!
One of the most important bottles in my spice cupboard!

Garlic and the family it belongs to, the onion, have amazing health benefits, which my family has come to know in the last year.

It is believed that the compound which is released when the garlic clove is crushed, chopped or chewed, is responsible not only for its distinctive flavour but also its health properties.

The health benifits are released when your clove is crushed, chopped or chewed
The health benifits are released when your clove is crushed, chopped or chewed

This pungent vegetable is also packed with vitamins and has traces of just about every nutrient you can think of. It is also low in calories.

Preventing colds and flu:

Until this last month, where I haven’t been using as much garlic as I normally do, no one in my family has had a cold! Three of us just came down with colds! It’s time to reintroduce the garlic.

Garlic helps prevent and reduce the duration of colds and flu
Garlic helps prevent and reduce the duration of colds and flu

In a 3 month study, (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11697022) of 146 people, those on the garlic supplement reported a reduction in colds and flu of up to 61% and a shortening of symptoms and duration from 5 days to 1 ½ days.

Good for your heart and blood pressure:

Garlic is good for blood pressure too! Another study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24035939) found that high doses of supplements were almost as effective in lowering blood pressure as the actual drug was (the equivalent of about 4 cloves of garlic).

In another study, it was found that garlic lowered the LDL cholesterol and Total cholesterol of patient’s; unfortunately, it did not appear to have any significant effect on the triglycerides. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8169881), however, it may prevent cholesterol from worsening.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia:

A long held theory is that anti-oxidants have a significant role in cell damage and ageing and, therefore, it may help prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Longevity:

Since garlic is known to have beneficial effects on chronic diseases, it could possibly help you live longer, but I think that is something impossible to prove!

Sports:

Apparently garlic is also a performance enhancer! Well for rats anyway, not sure about humans yet!

Metal toxicity:

In a group of workers at a car battery workshop, garlic was shown to significantly reduce lead toxicity and related heavy metal ailments.

Osteoporosis:

In rats garlic appears to have some benefits for bone health by increasing estrogen levels in females, but more human studies are needed.

It’s YUMMY!  Garlic is easy to add to your cooking and it makes most food taste good! Why not see if it has any health benefits for you?  What have you got to lose, except maybe a few friends!  Don’t forget the breath mints!

Good for more than keeping vampires at bay
Good for more than keeping vampires at bay

If you have a food myth, let me know and I will research it and write about it!

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