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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The goodness of garlic

Garlic has long enjoyed the reputation of a wonder food because of its unmatched health benefits. Garlic belongs to the onion family and has been used since centuries for both taste and health. The garlic plant's flowers - bulb made up of numerous sections called cloves - are strong and spicy in flavour and become milder on cooking.

Garlic contains complex compounds including amino acids like arginine, glutaminic, aspartic, valine & lysine; minerals like calcium, manganese, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, sodium and phosphorus; vitamin C & B6; niacin; folic acid; allicin; quercetin; sugars like fructose and glucose and other essential oils with sulphur containing components like diallyl disulphide and allyl tri-sulphide.

Health benefits of garlic

Prevents cardiac disease: Cardiac diseases are associated with various parameters including high level of blood cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. The allicin present in garlic breaks down to form sulphides, which together with vitamin B6 and vitamin C form the excellent antioxidants. These work especially well in water-soluble areas of the body like the blood stream.

The oxidised form of LDL (bad cholesterol) works in damaging blood vessels. Garlic has proved to inhibit the growth of oxidised LDL and increase the level of HDL (good cholesterol), thereby reducing the risk of heart stroke. Moreover it reduces the formation of plaque on the walls of heart vessels.

Half a teaspoon of crushed raw garlic taken before going to bed proves beneficial instead of taking a 600 mg tablet. Studies also reveal that garlic has properties to increase insulin in the body thereby reducing the blood sugar level.

Garlic also reduces blood pressure by blocking the angiotensin activity that triggers blood pressure levels.

Fights against cancer: Crushing garlic leads to the formation of compounds like diallyl disulphide and allyl tri-sulphide, which is why consuming it in its crushed form is highly recommended. These compounds work to fight against breast, stomach, bladder and prostate cancer. Garlic obstructs the development of cancerous cells, thereby slowing down the growth of tumour. It has been noticed that sulphur compounds commonly called ajoenes found in garlic are known for their anti-tumour qualities and can reduce the size of tumour by almost 50%. A strong immune system is a key to fighting against cancer and garlic helps to develop a strong immune system.

Improves immunity: Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. The allium present in garlic helps in controlling infections caused because of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Garlic helps to fight common cold. Studies reveal that crushed garlic can inhibit the growth of infectious bacteria in burn patients and also on open and bleeding wounds. Garlic provides relief from intestinal infections caused by infectious worms, thereby boosting the immunity.

Good for pregnant women:Healthy nutrients found in garlic are highly beneficial for pregnant women. The immunity boosting qualities of garlic can help women stay away from infections caused by bacteria, virus and fungi. Moreover, garlic has proved to be effective in increasing the weight of the child during pregnancy.

Pre-eclampsia is a situation in which blood pressure increases, resulting in excessive release of protein in the urine. Garlic is a diuretic and can increase the flow of urine in pregnant women which in turn expels toxic substance from the human body and helps to reduce the risk of developing pre-eclampsia.

It should be noted however, that excessive garlic is not recommended during pregnancies, as it causes thinning of the blood, which may lead to bleeding.

The problem with garlic

The biggest problem with garlic is it's strong smell, that causes bad breath and body odour. One tip to reduce bad breath caused by garlic is to consume it with milk. Also, cooked garlic has a significantly lesser smell than raw garlic.

Source: www.mdhil.com


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