Garlic has always been associated with bad breath and when served a dish with garlic, you avoid eating it especially in social gatherings where you have to meet and mingle with people. But did you know that Garlic has many healthy benefits?
Allicin… the beneficial compound in Garlic
The single most unique substance in Garlic is an antibacterial and anti-fungal compound called Allicin. It is activated when garlic is finely chopped or crushed. The medical effect of Allicin is strongest when garlic is finely chopped or crushed. Ironically enough, this same compound is the reason behind its repelling odour.
Garlic’s benefits for heart health and cancer
Scientific studies have proven that compounds like Allicin and antioxidants; together with the nutrients in garlic (Phosphorus, Selenium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Manganese) can help prevent heart disease, may be beneficial in reducing blood pressure and also reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
- Garlic and Atherosclerosis: Garlic can help prevent the accumulation of fat in the arteries and thus plays a positive role in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.
- Garlic and Cholesterol: Being rich in antioxidants, garlic can prevent “bad” LDL cholesterol from being oxidized and thus reduce the blockage of arteries caused by cholesterol.
- Garlic and Blood pressure: Several researches indicated that some of the compounds in garlic help the blood vessels relax and enlarge, lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow throughout the body.
- Garlic and Cancer: A Mayo Clinic study has reported that eating garlic might reduce the risk of stomach and colon cancers. How? Garlic’s content of compounds and antioxidants help protect cells from damage, and this in turn helps reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer.
Useful tips to incorporate garlic in your healthy diet
- Use garlic as a seasoning or condiment by adding it to your salads with vinegar or lemon and olive oil.
- Serve a garlic mix with your oven-baked chicken.
- Crush raw garlic and combine with the cooked food shortly before serving, as cooked garlic speeds up Allicin degradation and can reduce its health benefits.
The best way to store Garlic is to keep it warm (above 18°C) and dry, so that it does not sprout.
Good to Remember:
After a garlic dish, you can reduce your breath odour by chewing on a few sprigs of fresh parsley, fresh mint or drinking a large glass of hot mint tea.
Now, that you know all of its benefits, you should remember to include at least 1 clove of garlic daily in your diet and your family’s as well. Put this way, 1 clove a day might keep the doctor away!