An amino acid called Allicin is the magic potion in garlic that helps guard us against cancer.
In a major study involving men and women from 10 different countries EPIC, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition discovered garlic had the preventive properties to guard against various forms of cancers.
Several other independent population studies through the years have supported this finding showing that an increased intake of garlic results in a reduced risk of stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, prostate and breast cancers.
In fact as early as 1952, Russian scientists were already using garlic extracts to successfully kill tumours in humans. Over in Japan, scientists found that these same garlic extracts acted as powerful antioxidants against ‘lipid peroxidation’, a condition that occurs when an inappropriate number of oxygen molecules enter cells, causing their destruction.
So just what is that magic potion in garlic that helps guard us against cancer? An amino acid called Allicin. Keep in mind however that garlic is at its most effective when eaten raw – crushed or chopped – after it’s been allowed to sit for at 15 minutes at room temperature. Don’t keep it any longer though as Allicin can quickly diminish after it’s produced.
This little bulb is so potent even a little helps combat a host of other health-related conditions. Here are just a few…
Lowers cholesterol – studies have shown that garlic can lower total serum cholesterol levels and raise HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol levels. It can also lower triglyceride (another type of fat in the blood) levels.
Reduces plaque by preventing platelets in the blood from sticking together.
Fights infections by exerting antimicrobial activity against viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi. In fact raw garlic is so potent, numerous tests have proven it is more powerful than penicillin and tetracycline.
Boosts immunity – Dr Abdullah of the Akbar Clinic and Research Centre in Panama City, Florida believes garlic can rev up the immune defences of AIDS patients and may also directly combat the many kinds of fungal-type infections that most AIDS patients suffer from.
Lowers blood pressure – garlic has been used in China for centuries to lower blood pressure. The Japanese government officially recognises garlic as a blood pressure depressor.
Good for the lungs – garlic acts as a decongestant and expectorant for common colds and as a ‘mucus regulator’ for chronic bronchitis.
Just so you know, experts warn that garlic oils, capsules and pills offer very little in the form of the active compound that is so effective in keeping us healthy. Opt for fresh garlic or better yet grow your own!
So you’re eager in making consumption of raw garlic one of your New Year’s resolutions but you’re worried about being called “garlic breath”. Well, there’s a solution for that – just pop a few fennel seeds (jintan manis) into your mouth to counter garlic odours. It’s a small price to pay for a healthier you in 2013.