Health Benefits of Garlic: Cooking Garlic Benefits, Oil and Garlic in Your Diet, Kyolic Garlic Halal
Garlic, next to salt and pepper, is used in cooking more often than any other “spice” available on the market. I personally can't get enough of it!
People use it for the unique flavor it provides, but as more studies are performed on this little bulb from the lily family, it is seen that there are some pretty amazing health benefits to adding garlic to your diet.
Garlic Has Been Used for Centuries
For many centuries humans have used garlic for its numerous medicinal properties. The benefits for it being a heart healthy product have been so accepted throughout history that even Olympian athletes from Europe – Greece specifically – would consume it before the games to help them be in peak condition.
Consuming a garlic-rich diet can protect against:
- Cancer – including but not limited to: breast cancer, prostate cancer, stomach and colon cancer.
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
Garlic is even shown to be safe for breast feeding or pregnant women. In a few studies there has actually been proof that babies prefer the milk of mothers who consume garlic on a regular basis. Always consult your doctor before taking any kind of supplement if you are unsure.
Our bodies produce hydrogen sulfide, which is poisonous in large amount. This supply that the body produces performs as an antioxidant to the entire body and transmits signals through the cells that increases blood flow and relaxes blood vessels. It has been proven in recent studies that garlic has the power to boost hydrogen sulfide production, which not only proves garlic to be heart healthy, but also leads to further proof of a garlic-rich diet being good for you.
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Garlic for Health Explained
- Cancer – including but not limited to: breast cancer, prostate cancer, stomach and colon cancer – the risks are reduced significantly than without garlic in the diet.
- Allergies – The anti-viral properties in garlic helps the body fight against allergens. If you begin a regimen of a single supplement daily about 2 weeks out from allergy season and you greatly increase your resistance to the bad effects the season brings.
- Diabetes – Garlic has been found to reduce blood sugar levels. Taking one supplement per day is recommended to anyone who is diabetic as it increases the release of insulin in diabetics.
- Toothache – Place a small amount of garlic oil or simply crush garlic clove and put directly on the tooth in question, and surrounding gum. The analgesic and anesthetizing properties can actually cure a toothache until dental intervention can be obtained.
- High Blood Pressure – Scientific studies, and personal experience, has shown that sufferers of high blood pressure that consumed 600-900mg of garlic capsules daily for close to half a year significantly reduced their blood pressure numbers as effectively as if they were taking prescription drugs for high blood pressure.
- High Cholesterol – The same studies used to determine the benefits of blood pressure reduction have been shown to reduce the arterial plaque formed by 5-18% for taking the same 600-900mg supplements – kill two birds, one stone!
- Coughing – Throat irritated? Cough that won’t quit? Garlic’s antibacterial properties can reduce the severity of upper respiratory tract infections. Great news for chronic bronchitis sufferers.
- Warts – Garlic actually remedies many skin problems, including curing warts. Cut the tip off of a fresh garlic clove. Rub the cut area over the wart for a few seconds. Repeat nightly before bed until wart fades. (Note: If irritation or stinging occurs, simply rinse the wart.)
To Cook or Not to Cook
The downside to the above discovery is that when garlic is taken from its basic state and cooked, it can lose some of its healthy properties. The compound in garlic that provides the most notable healthy benefits from sulfur is allicin. Allicin is actually garlic’s defense mechanism against pests, and is what delivers that pungent smell that garlic is known for. What is a defense tactic for garlic becomes a health booster for humans by exhibiting antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Exposure to air causes allicin to lose its potency. Crushing then proceeding to cook garlic slowly depletes the sulfur compounds, and with a fast cook (think Microwave), you destroy the allicin entirely. It is clear that cooking fresh garlic will take away some of the health benefits, but don’t fret!
Cooking garlic can bring forth other sulfur compounds that are good for your health, as mostly allicin is the only property that fades during cooking time. Cooking garlic cloves can still reduce cancer risks and promote a healthy heart since these benefits are found in other sulfur compounds besides allicin alone.
Unfortunately, most home cooks will make the mistake of tossing garlic straight into the pan right after they have crushed their cloves. If you want to maximize those heart healthy properties and get the most out of that little gem on your chopping board, allow the crushed garlic to sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes. During this stationary time there is an enzyme reaction that boosts the compounds in garlic that provides health benefits without the help of allicin.
One final note: It is not recommended to take garlic in its raw form, because allicin is likely to be destroyed by stomach acids before you would reap any health benefits from the enzyme. That said you can get aged garlic, supplements and oils to get your daily doses of garlic without cooking it.
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Where and How to Buy Garlic
Garlic supplements are available in tablet form, gel capsules, oils and extracts and can be found in health food stores, on Amazon, in supermarkets, eBay, and many other places. Garlic powder, garlic salt and fresh garlic cloves can be purchased at your local supermarket.
Keep in mind that if you are taking an anti-coagulant drug, or if you are going into surgery soon, you should consult your doctor before taking any garlic supplement because of garlic’s blood thinning properties and anti-clotting capabilities.