G is for Garlic

Also known as the Stinking Rose, did you know it has many beneficial propoerties?

Garlic is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, and is used widely for flavouring. However, garlic has also been prescribed as medicine throughout ancient and modern history. Read on for the four health benefits of garlic.

Boosts Heart Health

Garlic is thought to make platelets, which reduces the likelihood of blood clumping together and sticking to artery walls. This reduces the risk of heart attacks. As it also helps in widening blood vessels, garlic may lower blood pressure. Garlic is thus useful in treating health conditions relating to the blood system and heart, such as hypertension and cholesterol.

Fights Cancer

Another wonder of this simple bulb is that it improves immunity. Studies have shown that eating garlic boosts the production of hydrogen sulphide, which is an antioxidant. While hydrogen sulphide can be poisonous at high concentrations, garlic can in fact protect against various cancers such as breast, prostate and colon cancers. According to a recent study, those who take raw garlic twice a week are 44% less likely to suffer from lung cancer.

Promotes Gut Health

Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician, was said to use garlic to treat patients with digestive issues. This is because garlic contains prebiotics, which are compounds that help maintain a healthy gut biome. Studies have found that prebiotics from garlic may be even better for the gut than the fibre from fruits and vegetables.

Antibacterial Properties

Due to its antibacterial properties, garlic has a long history of being used against viruses, bacteria and fungi. To treat warts and insect bites, crush a clove of garlic and mix it with water. Apply it to the skin and cover up with bandage; it won’t before long before enzymes in the harmful pathogens are destroyed.

Choosing and Preparing Garlic

Though it is tempting to choose convenient forms of garlic such as flakes or powder, these will not be as effective as raw garlic. Choose garlic that do not show signs of decay. To prevent sprouting, store in a cool, dark place away from heat and sunlight. Note that once the head of the garlic is broken, its shelf life is generally reduced to a few days.

Eating a raw clove a day early in the morning will bring about a host of health benefits. Some scientists also recommend letting raw crushed or chopped garlic sit for at least 10 minutes before cooking. This is because crushing garlic can release health-promoting enzymes that are otherwise trapped in its cells. If garlic is cooked immediately, these enzymes would be lost.

Side Effects

Some people may suffer from indigestion after eating fresh garlic. If you are worried about losing friends with your garlic breath, munch on mint leaves, apples, or lettuce to neutralise the odour.

Whatever the case, it’s hard to think of many dishes without garlic.

 

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