What are some of the health benefits of garlic?

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Answered by: Christy, An Expert in the Nutrition - General Category
For over 500 years garlic has been used as both a remedy and a preventative treatment for numerous health conditions. This magic herb is enjoying a comeback as an easy and safe way to maintain health. Plentiful and inexpensive, garlic in supplements, powder, or natural forms provide significant benefits to the human body. It’s time to rediscover what the ancients knew about the health benefits of garlic.

Many years ago there were little options for treating disease. Plants were the only options for ailments, and garlic was used for a variety of health problems. Garlic was used externally to inhibit and heal infected wounds and offered relief from skin diseases by direct application. The sulfur content in garlic oil is a powerful antiseptic that can even cure fungal infections. Internally, garlic was believed to improve respiratory conditions such as tuberculosis, asthma, and pneumonia. Intestinal ailments such as worms, diarrhea, dysentery, and colitis. The ancients even utilized garlic as a remedy for aging and a strength and virility enhancer.

Today science supports the historical belief of garlic use for restoring health, and studies show that it has more benefits than previously known. Research proves garlic is beneficial for cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, detoxification, and improves circulation. This is due to its combination of antibacterial and antioxidant properties. When chopped or sliced, garlic produces allicin, an amino acid that destroys free radicals and eases arterial spasms.

The destruction of free radicals prevents certain cancers. The sulfur content has antiseptic properties, beneficial to internal ailments involving mucus, breaking it up and expelling it. Sulfur has long been known to heal acne and prevent scarring. Having a high concentration of vitamins and minerals such as iodine, chlorine, calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin C, and a composition of over 6% protein, garlic qualifies as a “super food.”

Sedentary lifestyles, poor diets, and tobacco use contribute to increased cardiovascular disease. Research on the effects of using garlic to prevent or improve existing vascular diseases is promising. Garlic lowers LDL cholesterol and reduces blood pressure. In studies garlic supplements increased dilation of blood vessels, improving circulation and lowering blood pressure. Just 2-3 garlic capsules taken daily lowered pulse rates and regulated heart rhythm in patients with cardiovascular disease.

Research from Oxford University shows that garlic decreases platelet aggregation, or “stickiness” which increases blood flow throughout the body, and decreases or alleviates impotence in heart patients. Patients with prior heart attacks who ingested 2-3 cloves per day cut their risk of future heart attacks in half. It is a known blood thinner and should be used in moderation when using aspirin therapy.

Garlic and other vegetables in the Allium family are known to prevent cancer. Specifically, it contains several anticancer compounds that inhibit tumor growth, blocking free radicals. It inhibits the development of stomach, lung, liver, and colon cancer and is rated as the top food to prevent cancer by the American National Cancer Institute. With the addition of great flavor to foods combined with amazing health benefits of garlic, everyone should take advantage of this miracle food.

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