—by Cate Stevenson, BA
Garlic is a superstar when it comes to protecting against disease — no doubt about it. How does garlic come to sit in the top spot when it comes to maintaining good health? Mostly because it is high in sulfur compounds. These compounds are potent extractors of toxic heavy chemicals in your body. They bind with chemicals so that they can be excreted, instead of taking hold in your organs and causing damage. These sulfur compounds are also effective at protecting against oxidation and free radicals. Garlic is also a natural antiseptic. It can be used both inside and outside your body to fight infection. Garlic could help lower your blood pressure and reduce bad cholesterol levels. That should be all the motivation you need to start adding garlic to your diet — but there’s more.
Garlic can also help detox your liver. And when you have a healthy liver, it will show on the outside in the form of healthy, glowing skin and on the inside in the form of healthy blood full of nutrients.
In one clinical trial, researchers studied the effect of garlic in the treatment of “hepatic steatosis” (the liver component of metabolic syndrome). This condition often develops into cirrhosis. The study investigated the potential of garlic to inhibit hepatic steatosis induced by a high-fat diet (HFD). Blood analyses showed that garlic prevented liver injury by stopping harmful oxidative stress.
Garlic is also great for your heart, not surprisingly, as it could help fight high blood pressure and lower cholesterol. In fact, it’s not possible to heap too much praise on garlic when it comes to protecting your good health. Garlic is also known to be a potent anti-cancer agent.
Time to get garlic into your weekly diet! You can use raw garlic in number of recipes to enhance the health of your body — from dinner entrees to breakfast juices, garlic can be added to fight free radicals, bacteria, and toxins.
When using it, there a few things to remember. Crushed, raw garlic contains allicin, a compound that breaks down into a whole host of other healthful compounds; it’s like an amazing chain reaction taking place right in your own body — so eat it in this form if you can. If you don’t like the biting taste of raw garlic, you can cook it or use it powdered. You’ll still get most of the health benefits this way. Remember to mince finely, however. And if you’re going to cook garlic, crush it first, as this will help preserve its healing compounds.