Tuesday, December 3, 2013


If you research the claims the positive effects garlic has on your health it can be quite astonishing. Labeled as a super-food, some of the claims for garlic include fighting infection, improved immune function, heal cuts, repel mosquitos and lower your mortgage payment, ok that last one was a joke.

Let's take a look at some of the aspects that make garlic such an adversary in sustaining good health along with its history and research.

What is garlic?

Garlic is derived from an old English term "garleac," which means "spear leek." Garlic is an herb which is included in the Allium class of bulb-shaped plants along with onions, leeks, chives and scallions. It is best known for adding flavor to food through allicin, the biologically active ingredient and the source of garlic's distinctive odor. It's highest nutrient content is manganese, vitamins B6 and C. The majority of the world's garlic is now produced in China.

How long has garlic been used as a health ally?

One of the earliest documented plants used by human for the treatment of diseases and maintenance of health was the garlic. Garlic was used at the beginning of recorded history and was found in Egyptian pyramids and ancient Greek temples. There are recorded Biblical references to garlic (see link). Ancient medical texts from Egypt, Greece, Rome, China and India each prescribed medical applications for garlic. Garlic is documented being used in WWI and WWII on soldiers to fight infections. See: http://www.openbible.info/topics/onions


Where is the evidence?

Numerous population studies correlate garlic consumption and reduced risk of various cancers, including stomach, esophagus, pancreas and breast cancer. Cancer Prevention Medicine published a study stating garlic reduces chances of acquiring lung cancer even if you're a smoker. The National Library of Medicine's Web site lists over 3,500 studies addressing garlic's positive effect on health conditions such as elevated cholesterol and many types of cancer. See: Chinese population study from 2003 to 2010,

Should I eat garlic cooked or raw?

To receive the maximum benefits from garlic eating it raw is your best option but most of us would not choose to do this. For cooking it is suggested to chop or slice it and let it sit for roughly 15 minutes prior to heating which allows the active compound Allicin to be formed. If you heat the garlic immediately it can negate some of the positive effects.  As a guideline garlic consumption recommendations are consuming about 1/3 of a garlic clove daily. The World Health Organization's guidelines for general health promotion is a daily dose of 2 to 5 g of fresh garlic which equals one clove, 0.4 to 1.2 g of dried garlic powder, 2 to 5 mg of garlic oil, 300 to 1,000 mg of garlic extract, or other formulations that are equal to 2 to 5 mg of allicin.



In addition to being a cancer fighter, garlic has a long history as being a propenent to treat bronchitis, high blood pressure, TB (tuberculosis), rheumatism, liver disorders, dysentery, flatulence, colic, intestinal worms, and diabetes. Please note that only a small number of clinical trials have been completed to examine the potential anticancer effects of garlic.

I think anything that claims it can benefit your health is worth researching, especially where cancer is concerened. There are conclusive studies that show a healthy diet that is composed of fresh fruits, vegetables including garlic, nuts, and green tea can improve a person's chances of victory in fighting cancer.

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