Garlic the wonder food
Garlic and its cousins (onions, chives and scallions) are probably the most intriguing of all vegetables. Garlic lowers cholesterol, reduces the risk of heart disease, fights infection and boosts immunity. And, as if that weren't enough, the data is strong for the prevention of cancers of the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, colon and rectum. The National Cancer Institute is sponsoring a huge clinical trial on garlic's ability to prevent stomach cancer. But why wait years for the results of this clinical trial?
Several studies (1-3) show that garlic benefits the following conditions:
Many publications have shown that garlic supports the cardiovascular system, while earlier trials suggest it may lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
Garlic and cancer
Parts of China have the misfortune to have an inordinately high rate of cancer of the esophagus and stomach. Scientists at the Nanjing Cancer Institute compared the incidence of several cancers among thousands of people who ate lots of allium vegetables versus thousands who ate little or none. ('Lots' in this case means at least once per week while 'little' means less than once per month.)
Here is how allium vegetables prevented cancer of the esophagus:
for those who ate lots of scallions
The figures for stomach cancer prevention are equally impressive:
for those who ate lots of onions
Studies indicate that eating garlic seems to protect against colorectal cancer as well.
Dr. Lenore Arab and colleagues from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill analyzed 18 studies looking at garlic eaters.
The average intake of the consumers of raw or cooked garlic was 18.3 grams per week (about six cloves).
Based on 6 studies, the findings suggest "high consumption of raw or cooked garlic decreases the risk of colorectal cancer from 10% to nearly 50%," the researchers write(6).
Garlic and heart disease
studies (7) have uncovered what is perhaps
The studies suggest that garlic may:
These effects are wide-ranging and likely result from several different mechanisms.
Regular garlic consumption appears to prevent the buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries and may even shrink existing plaques, according to German researchers who recently concluded a 4-year study of 280 adults (8). People who ingested 900 mg of garlic powder daily had up to 18% less arterial plaque at the end of the study than those taking a placebo. The effect, seen in both sexes, was most pronounced in women. Plaque volume rose by 53% in women on the placebo, while it declined by 4.6% in those taking garlic.
Another benefit which has been confirmed by medical research is garlic's antibiotic activity. Studies have repeatedly confirmed that garlic is effective against bacteria, fungi and yeasts. Garlic can be safely taken for mild, recurring or chronic infections which are not dangerous. Examples include colds, infections of the mouth, ears, throat and especially candida. (9)
Many people avoid eating garlic since it can make one's breath smell pretty strong. In that case, garlic supplements are a convenient alternative.
For those who prefer it, odor-controlled, enteric-coated tablets or capsules with approximately 1.3% allin are available. Several clinical trials which have shown benefits have used 600900 mg (delivering approximately 5,0006,000 mcg of allicin potential) per day in 2 or 3 divided amounts.(10,11)
Which garlic supplement should you choose? Well, that depends on whom you ask. Nutrition experts continue to debate whether aged garlic extracts are superior to standardized high-allicin extracts.
Aging is a method of preserving garlic. It was developed thousands of years ago by Chinese herbalists, who found that steeping garlic in vinegar for a few years actually increased the herbs potency. A Japanese company reinvented the process in the 1950s. In the modern version, organically grown garlic is placed in large vats of vinegar for 2 years.
Proponents say that aging the garlic in this way enhances the herbs antioxidant properties, prevents the rapid deterioration of important compounds, and removes the odor as well as irritants which might cause stomach upset.
Indeed, if youre concerned about garlic breath, an aged extract or enteric-coated tablet is the way to go. If youre treating an infection of some kind, a standardized high-allicin extract or the actual food is the better choice. Aging destroys garlics antibiotic properties.
I spend a lot of time researching the best prices for supplements on the internet and in my opinion, the best price for high quality garlic supplements can be found here.
Some individuals who are sensitive to garlic may experience heartburn and flatulence. Because of garlic's anticlotting properties, those taking anticoagulant drugs should check with their nutritionally oriented doctor before taking garlic. Those scheduled for surgery should inform their surgeon if they are taking garlic supplements.
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(1). Warshafsky S, Kamer R, Sivak S. Effect of garlic on total serum cholesterol: A meta-analysis. Ann Int Med 1993;119:599605.
(2). Silagy C, Neil A. Garlic as a lipid-lowering agenta meta-analysis. J R Coll Phys London 1994;28:3945.
(3). Neil HA, Silagy CA, Lancaster T, et al. Garlic powder in the treatment of moderate hyperlipidaemia: A controlled trial and a meta-analysis. J R Coll Phys 1996;30:32934.
(4). Dorant E, van den Brandt PA, Goldbohm RA, et al. Garlic and its significance for the prevention of cancer in humans: A critical review. Br J Cancer 1993;67:4249.
(5). Fleishauer AT, Poole C, Arab L. Garlic consumption and cancer prevention: meta-analyses of colorectal and stomach cancers. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;72:104752.
(6) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition October, 2000;72:1047-1052.
(7) Nutrition in Clinical Care August 2000;3:145-152.
(8) (Atherosclerosis, May 1999) Date Posted: 10/31/2002
(9) SOURCE: Lin, Robert. Garlic in Medicine. Speech made to American College of Advancement in Medicine. May 14, 1992 p 46.
(10). Brown DJ. Herbal Prescriptions for Better Health. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1996, 97109.
(11). Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 134.
© 2002 Healing Daily