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September 8, 2018 | Health

Raw Garlic Benefits for Fighting Disease

Ghanaian Chronicle
Raw Garlic Benefits for Fighting Disease

Intensely aromatic and flavorful, garlic is used in virtually every cuisine in the world. When eaten raw, it has a powerful, pungent flavor to match the truly mighty garlic benefits. Garlic is particularly high in certain sulfur compounds that are believed to be responsible for its scent and taste, as well as its very positive effects on human health.

Garlic benefits rank only second to turmeric benefits in the amount of research backing this superfood. At the time of this article's publication, there were more than 5,100 peer-reviewed articles that evaluated garlic's ability to prevent and improve a wide spectrum of diseases.

And do you know what all this research revealed?
Eating garlic regularly is not only good for us; it has been linked to reducing or even helping to prevent four of the major causes of death worldwide, including heart disease, stroke, cancer and infections. The National Cancer Institute does not recommend any dietary supplement for cancer prevention, but it does recognize garlic as one of several vegetables with potential anticancer properties.

Other than the most extreme, rare situations, I believe every person on the planet should consume garlic. It's extremely cost-effective, super easy to grow and tastes absolutely fantastic. So find out more about garlic benefits, garlic uses, garlic research, how to grow your own garlic and some great-tasting garlic recipes.

Medicinal Raw Garlic Benefits
As you are about to see, raw garlic benefits are plentiful. It can used as an effective form of plant-based medicine in many ways, including the following.

Garlic for Heart Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States, followed by cancer. (3) Garlic has been widely recognized as both a preventative agent and treatment of many cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, including atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, thrombosis, hypertension and diabetes. A scientific review of experimental and clinical studies of garlic benefits found that, overall, garlic consumption has significant cardioprotective effects in both animal and human studies.

Probably the most amazing characteristic of garlic is that it's been shown to help reverse early heart disease by removing plaque buildup in arteries. A 2016 randomized, double-blind study published in the Journal of Nutrition involved 55 patients, aged 40 to 75 years, who had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. The results of the study showed that aged garlic extract effectively reduced plaque in coronary arteries (the arteries supplying blood to the heart) for patients with metabolic syndrome.

One of the lead researchers, Matthew J. Budoff, M.D., said, “This study is another demonstration of the benefits of this supplement in reducing the accumulation of soft plaque and preventing the formation of new plaque in the arteries, which can cause heart disease. We have completed four randomized studies, and they have led us to conclude that Aged Garlic Extract can help slow the progression of atherosclerosis and reverse the early stages of heart disease.”

Garlic for Cancer
Allium vegetables, especially garlic and onions, and their bioactive sulfur compounds are believed to have effects at each stage of cancer formation and affect many biological processes that modify cancer risk.

In the words of the NIH National Cancer Institute, “Several population studies show an association between increased intake of garlic and reduced risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast.” It also includes an answer to a very key question: How can garlic act to prevent cancer? The National Cancer Institute explains that “protective effects from garlic may arise from its antibacterial properties or from its ability to block the formation of cancer-causing substances, halt the activation of cancer-causing substances, enhance DNA repair, reduce cell proliferation, or induce cell death.”

A French study of 345 breast cancer patients found that increased garlic, onion and fiber consumption were associated with a statistically significant reduction in breast cancer risk. Another cancer that garlic has been specifically shown to positively affect is pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly forms cancer. The good news is that scientific research has now shown that increased garlic consumption may reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

A population-based study conducted in the San Francisco Bay area found that pancreatic cancer risk was 54 percent lower in people who ate larger amounts of garlic and onions compared with those who ate lower amounts. The study also showed that increasing the overall intake of vegetables and fruits may protect against developing pancreatic cancer.

Garlic also shows promise when it comes to treating cancer. Garlic's organosulfur compounds, including DATS, DADS, ajoene, and S-allylmercaptocysteine (SAMC), have been found to induce cell cycle arrest when added to cancer cells during in vitro experiments. In addition, these sulfur compounds have been found to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) when added to various cancer cell lines grown in culture. Taking liquid garlic extract and S-allylcysteine (SAC) orally has also been reported to increase cancer cell death in animal models of oral cancer.

Overall, garlic clearly shows some real potential as a cancer-fighting food that should not be ignored or discounted.

Garlic for High Blood Pressure
An interesting phenomenon of garlic is that has been shown to help control high blood pressure. One study looked at the effect of aged garlic extract as an adjunct treatment for people already taking antihypertensive medication yet still having uncontrolled hypertension. Garlic showed itself to be highly effective once again. The study, published in the scientific journal Maturitas, evaluated 50 people with “uncontrollable” blood pressure. It was uncovered that simply taking four capsules of aged garlic extract (960 milligrams) daily for three months caused blood pressure to drop by an average of 10 points.

Another study published in 2014 found that garlic has “the potential to lower BP in hypertensive individuals similarly to standard BP medication.” So garlic, specifically in the form of the standardizable and highly tolerable aged garlic extract for this study, could work just as well as prescription hypertension medications. This study further explains that garlic's polysulfides promote the opening or widening of blood vessels and, hence, blood pressure reduction.

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