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Health Benefits of Garlic

Published by Nanni on Thursday, October 25, 2012

Photo credit by sivandsivand

Halloween is coming up, and everyone is going to be donning their best ghoul and ghostly get-ups for the occasion. However, there is one guy that maybe you shouldn’t invite to the party, Dracula. Why you may ask? Well he’s a vampire for starters, and you’d have to have a pretty big collection of turtle necks to feel safe around him. But being that he’s a vampire, chances are that he absolutely hates garlic and with all of the immense health benefits that this little white wonder possesses, you may want to find a friend that appreciates this wonder food.

The Food and Drug Administration has long vouched for the seemingly amazing health-assisting powers of the often misunderstood food. Garlic is one of the most potent and helpful foods that we have available to us. In addition to its widely known use as a flavor enhancer in some of our favorite foods, it’s also a health enhancer. Rich in the antioxidant Ajoene, garlic has been proven to have anti-clotting abilities, which is a defense against catastrophic health problems like heart disease and stroke. This valiant vegetable is also valuable at boosting your immune system, which makes it a great asset during cold and flu time. A fighter of free-radicals, which can damage cells inside your body, garlic has also been proven to have a positive affect in preventing and decreasing the risk of certain cancers including prostate cancer, skin cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer.

If that wasn’t enough, this abundant ally in overall health has also been proven to lower blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), raise HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) and also be a helpful agent in the reduction of inflammation and pain in the body, which is music to the years of those who suffer from ailments like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Now I know what you’re thinking. How can I incorporate more garlic into my diet so that I too can reap the benefits? Well for starters, you want to choose fresh garlic as an accompaniment in your dishes as opposed to bottled garlic. According to research published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, fresh garlic has higher levels of Allicin, which is the main active ingredient in garlic and the culprit behind its unmistakable odor. This is also an ingredient with key antibacterial agents and a fighter of cancers as well. Allicin’s potency may be lowered when stored, so using fresh garlic is always the best way when whipping up some yummy garlic mashed potatoes or garlic chicken.

So that you don’t get garlic overload, make sure to eat it in moderation, which may also save your date the trouble of turning away when you lean in for that goodnight kiss. But if you’ve just dined on a garlic heavy dish, fear not. Taking that lemon wedge on your glass and squeezing it into your mouth can decrease the potency of the odor. A couple of pieces of gum or peppermint won’t hurt either, just in case.

So before you say "hold the garlic", the next time you’re dining out, think about all of the health boosting abilities that the tiny food possesses. It won’t be the end of the world if you to take a couple of bites. After all, it’s for your health.

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