Friday, September 14, 2012

Everyone Should Love Garlic

Garlic is one of the worlds oldest cultivated crops.  6,000 years ago it was originally cultivated in central Asia.  From there it spread through out the world and has been a common staple or spice in cultures everywhere.  The ease at which garlic grows in a wide variety of environments throughout the world, along with the amazing number of aliments it has been used to treat, are very likely reasons for its spread throughout the world.  Since ancient times, physicians have been prescribing garlic as a remedy for all kinds of health problems.  With many ancient remedies, science has not been able to identify whether or not they work.  Often they do not work.  Garlic however has a wealth of scientific research to support its many health benefits.  Garlic is full of nutrients that help boost the health of the body.  Garlic is also loaded with all kinds of chemicals that have been shown to have positive health effects.  Many of these chemicals contain sulfur and are responsible for garlic's distinct odor. 

One of the most common and most known sulfur containing compounds in garlic is allicin.  Allicin is produced by garlic cloves once they are damaged, such as by cutting, chewing, crushing, and so on.  Once produced, allicin functions as a strong antibiotic and antifungal.  For this reason, many ancient cultures used garlic as an antiseptic, and of course, it still functions as an antiseptic today, albeit a smelly one.  Once cooked or as it passes through the digestive tract allicin begins to break-down into extremely strong antioxidants.  These antioxidants have been shown to help prevent cancer as well as slow its growth.  Other compounds in garlic have also been shown to have healthy effects on the cardiovascular system.  These benefits include thinning the blood and lowering blood pressure.  All of this points us towards including garlic as a regular everyday part of a healthy diet!

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