Six Ways Garlic Can Improve Your Health
February 28, 2004
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By Dr. Joseph Mercola
with Rachael Droege
Garlic is a triple-whammy: it’s antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal. Garlic is one food that you should be eating every day.
It is important to note that the garlic must be fresh to give you optimal health benefits. The active ingredient is destroyed within one hour of smashing the garlic, so garlic pills are virtually worthless and should not be used. When you use the garlic, compress it with a spoon prior to swallowing it, or put it through your juicer to add to your vegetable juice. Just be careful not to put too much in as it can cause some unpleasant surprises. A single medium size clove or two is usually sufficient.
Researchers have found that allicin, a chemical found in garlic that gives it its flavor, could be used to fight cancer. It appears that the natural chemical reaction that forms allicin, which occurs when the garlic is eaten or smashed, may penetrate and kill tumor cells.
Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
Several studies suggest that garlic has many beneficial effects on the heart. Garlic may:
- Lower total cholesterol
- Lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Help keep blood thin, reducing the risk of blood clots and stroke
- Lower elevated serum levels of homocysteine, according to preliminary studies
Fight Parasites and Viral Infections
Garlic works like a broad-spectrum antibiotic against bacteria, virus, and protozoa in the body. And unlike with antibiotics, no resistance can be built up so it is an absolutely safe product to use.
Garlic can have a powerful antioxidant effect in the body, which means it helps to protect against damaging free radicals.
Reduce Fungal Infections
Garlic’s anti-fungal properties are excellent for reducing fungal infections, such as yeast infections.
Avoid Insect Bites
People who eat garlic tend to get fewer bites from insects like ticks, according to research. It also likely applies to mosquitoes as well.
One problem with garlic, of course, is the smell, but generally a few cloves a day are tolerated by most people. If you develop a socially offensive odor then all you need to do is slightly decrease the amount of garlic you’re consuming until there is no odor present. Garlic is an herb, however, so if you do not like it or it makes you feel sick, this is your body's way of telling you that you should avoid it.