• The health benefits of Garlic

    The Health Benefits of Garlic

    Garlic and onions are part of the same genus known as allium genus. However, garlic belongs to the food family that includes the very beautiful amaryllis, as well chives, shallots and scallions.
    Some of garlic's incredible nutritional benefits are shared with other allium family members, such as onions and leeks and this should be taken into consideration when trying to maximise the health benefits of garlic.

    Wild garlic is only found in Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, it is for this reason that these regions are considered the likely origin of garlic.
    This outstanding vegetable has been highly prized and cultivated for thousands of years throughout the world, and it is no surprise with its ever extending list of health benefits. China is currently the worlds largest commercial producer with 20 million tons being produced annually, with India coming in second with 1.25 million tons, other top producing countries include Egypt, Russia and South Korea.

    Despite garlic being a good source of manganese and vitamin B6, it is the sulphur compounds found in garlic that are the main attraction in terms of health benefits. These benefits include the cardiovascular system, immune system, endocrine system, inflammatory system, detoxification and the digestive system.

    The consumption of garlic has been linked to the reduction of cancer, with a specific spotlight on the upper digestive system, this includes the mouth, pharynx, oesphagus and larynx. The sulphur compounds are helpful in lowering the risk of squamous cell carcinoma found in the digestive tract. There is also a strong link between the consumption of garlic and stomach cancer in both prevention and reduction of cancerous cells.

    Garlic has shown remarkable benefits in the field of cardiovascular health in terms of prevention of arteriosclerosis, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and heart attacks.
    The benefits don't stop there, garlic has some powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help to fight chronic inflammation within the blood vessel walls. This inflammation contributes to damage and the formation of plaque which can lead to heart attacks, high blood pressure and stroke.
    It also supports cardiovascular health by decreasing the risk of unwanted platelet clumping which can lead to problems such as stroke, heart attacks and deep vein thrombosis.
    Research has shown that blood vessel walls are more flexible and inflammation within the vessel walls is reduced through regular consumption of garlic.

    The greatest benefit has been found in consuming about 18 cloves of garlic a week. In addition the cloves need to be crushed to maximise the health benefits. Seems a lot? try adding more onions or leeks into your weekly diet to increase the health benefits of the allium genus.

    Garlic has also shown promising results in the area of bone health, the diallys disulfides (DADS) found in garlic may help to protect bone cells known as oestoblasts from damage. In addition, garlic may be able to support formation of new bone and offer maintenance support of existing bone.

    There is no need to store garlic in the fridge, a dark, dry place away from heat and sunlight is ideal. It should be noted that once you split the head of garlic, it greatly reduces the shelf life to a few days.

    The nutrients found in garlic

    A closer look at some of the nutrients and their benefits

    Manganese - Mineral
    - Supports the formation of healthy bones through absorption of calcium
    - Supports collagen production
    - Helps with the control of blood sugar
    - Contributes to the prevention of oxygen related damage and damage from ultraviolet (UV) light
    - Antioxidant, fights free radical damage. Diets low in manganese have been linked to skin problems and asthma
    - Proper functioning of the thyroid gland
    - Promotes metabolism of fats and carbohydrates

    Pyridoxine - Vitamin B6
    - Protects the immune system
    - Maintains a healthy metabolism
    - Helps to produce energy from food
    - Promotes healthy hormones
    - Maintains healthy cells
    - Assists in the absorption of vitamin B12
    - Improves neurological function
    - Promotes healthy brain function
    - Reduces premenstrual symptoms
    - Helps to prevent arteriosclerosis and heart disease

    Vitamin C

    - Supports the immune system
    - Increases iron absorption
    - Protects cells from oxidating damage
    - Helps reduce the risk of heart disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke
    - Helps in the formation of collagen, carnitine, and catecholemines
    - Helps prevent and fight cancer

    Trytophan - Essential amino acid
    - Essential in manufacturing serotonin
    - Improves mood
    - Reduces anxiety and stress
    - improves memory
    - Improves sleep quality
    - Helps manage depression
    - Produces Niacin (B vitamin)
    - Helps regulate behaviour
    - Reduces aggression

    - Mineral

    - Antioxidant, fights free radicals
    - Helps promote a healthy thyroid function
    - Helps to slow down the signs of ageing
    - Helps to excrete mercury from the body
    - Supports a healthy cardiovascular function
    - Improves sperm motility

    - Mineral

    - Maintains healthy bones
    - Regulates acid-base balance
    - Helps with maintaining healthy muscle and nerve function
    - Helps in the transportation of nutrients

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    Holland & Barrett, the good life.

    I Quit Sugar for Life: Your fad-free wholefood wellness code and cookbook.

    Forks Over Knives.

    The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health.

    Healing Beyond Medicine: How self-empowerment, a raw vegan diet, and change of lifestyle can free us from sickness and disease.

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