There’s no doubt that garlic is one of nature’s healers. There’s more research almost on a weekly basis that shows garlic lower blood pressure as well as prescription drugs, lowers the risk of certain types of cancer and it serves as a potent antimicrobial that is doubly important during cold and flu season.
It’s powerful pungent medicine in any form: raw, cooked, bottled or in powders or capsules. Plus, the great philosophers say it adds zing to your life.
Why not get garlic into your diet in as many forms as possible? Read on to discover why you should be adding garlic to everything from stir fries to salads to pizzas.
To help prevent or reverse heart disease: Dozens of major studies show garlic can fight heart attack causing arterial plaque, improve the elasticity of arteries, reduce blood clotting and lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.
In people with significant plaque buildup, taking just 900 milligrams of garlic extract a day caused plaque to shrink by 2.6% while plaque increased by 15.6% in non-users. German research proves garlic’s worth: Garlic eaters had 18.9% lower levels of triglycerides, the dangerous blood fats that can lead to a heart attack. A third German study shows garlic eaters had 43% fewer artery-clogging blood clots after just six months of taking between 600 mg and 1200 mg in supplement form daily.
Knock out cancers: The link between garlic and the prevention of several types of cancer (especially stomach, breast, prostate, liver, bladder and colon cancers) is particularly strong. The National Cancer Institute reports that “a host of studies provide compelling evidence” that compounds in garlic inhibit cancer. University of Texas research shows that compounds in garlic reduce the size and number of cancerous tumors by as much as 75%, probably by stimulating the body’s natural defense system and waking up the natural process of cell death (apoptosis) that stops tumor growth.
Shield against infections: Numerous studies show that garlic has broad antimicrobial action. That means it is effective against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. It’s been shown effective against several types of flu virus and even herpes simplex, the virus responsible for cold sores. Garlic capsules inserted in vagina are often used to treat recurrent yeast infections, drops of garlic oil can clear ear infections and eating garlic will help expel mucus during a cold or bronchial infection. The beauty of the antimicrobial powers of garlic is that, unlike antibiotics that only treat bacterial infections, it’s not necessary to know what type of infection you have, garlic will whack them all without side effects.
How it works: Garlic contains more than 200 compounds, including some well-known powerhouses and others that provide back-up to the big guys. Among the most important: sulfur (which gives garlic its pungent taste) and slows your liver’s ability to produce cholesterol; allicin, an immune system booster thought to have a role in garlic’s cancer-preventive effects; quercetin, a flavonoid with strong antioxidant properties study-proven to lower cholesterol, reduce arterial plaque and interfere with the reproductive capacities of cancer cells.
Because there are so many compounds in garlic and the synergistic powers combined are very important, you should use whole garlic as a food or whole garlic extract as a supplement.
So pack on the garlic! Eat it raw if you (and your friends) can tolerate it.
Any form of garlic will give you big health boosting benefits. Sauteed garlic loses a few of the healthy sulfur compounds, but there are still plenty to go around. Even the pre-chopped garlic and the garlic powder in your supermarket are chock-full of heart disease and cancer fighters.
If you and your friends really can’t tolerate garlic breath, try a supplement! If you prefer your garlic deodorized and in a pill? There are great garlic supplements out there including my favorite, Kyolic, an aged garlic extract on which a great deal of scientific research has been done.
Since garlic can thin your blood, you should not take it if you are already taking blood thinners like Coumadin. There are no other harmful side effects, but, as always, check with your doctor before taking garlic or any other supplements.