Garlic is a bulb of the species Allium and closely related to other bulbs like onion, leek and chive. It is one of the most important culinary herbs there is, not just for taste but for its powerful health promoting effects on the body.
Garlic contains over 100 compounds that are useful for maintaining good health. Garlic is a good source of vitamins B1, B5, B6 and C, as well as mineral calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorous and zinc.
Garlic’s beneficial actions involve a molecule called alliin. When garlic is either chewed, sliced, or crushed, it releases the metabolite called allicin. Allicin then converts into fat and water-soluble sulphur-containing compounds. These volatile compounds give off hydrogen sulphide, which is part of garlic’s pungent smell and taste
Garlic is used as a preventative and treatment for a multitude of conditions, many of them related to the cardiovascular system and the immune system. Garlic is known for its powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties and can even ward off antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
Garlic reduces inflammation, boosts immune function, improves heart health, and is used in cancer prevention.
Garlic may be used to treat hardening of the arteries and helps to reduce high blood pressure. Levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood are also reduced by consumption of garlic.
Regular consumption of raw or aged garlic can reduces total cholesterol and Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL-C), while increasing High-density Lipoprotein (HDL-C).
Garlic can be taken in a variety of forms: Garlic pills, garlic tablets, garlic capsules or fresh/raw garlic, aged garlic and as garlic oil. The best garlic supplement should contain allicin, since allicin is responsible for many of garlic’s beneficial effects
Garlic increases the risk of bleeding and may lead to prolonged bleeding after surgery. It is advised that you stop taking garlic supplements about 2 weeks prior to a scheduled operation.
Taking too much garlic can lead to stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Garlic may interact with some forms of medications, increasing or decreasing their intended effects or side effects.
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