The Power of Garlic
There is nothing like garlic to spice things up. Strong, aromatic and flavorful, garlic is a vegetable used in countless dishes and recipes around the world. When eaten raw, it has a powerful, pungent flavor to match the truly mighty garlic benefits. Next to onions, it truly is in a league of its own!
Garlic is high in certain sulfur compounds, which contribute to its scent and taste, as well as its positive effects on human health. Eating garlic regularly is not only good for us, it’s been linked to reducing or even preventing ailments such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and nearly any infection you can think of.
Nearly everyone should consume garlic! It’s extremely cost-effective, super easy to grow and tastes absolutely fantastic. Unless you have a bad reaction to it, Garlic is the end-all, be-all, cure-all for nearly anything that ails you!
Medicinal Raw Garlic Benefits
Why raw? Because there is nothing quite like it to fix up the body. Garlic benefits are almost endless. Here are just a few benefits:
• Great for Reducing Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S. followed by cancer. Garlic has been widely recognized as both a preventative agent and treatment of many cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, including atherosclerosis, hypertension, thrombosis and diabetes. Studies find garlic consumption has significant cardio protective benefits.
One of the most amazing affects of garlic is its ability to reduce heart disease by literally reversing plaque buildup in arteries! In particular, it has been found that aged garlic extract effectively reduced plaque in coronary arteries (the arteries supplying blood to the heart) for patients with metabolic syndrome. We at the Raw Food Guru are not professing to be doctors, but countless studies can be found online addressing this information.
• Garlic as a Cancer Fighter
Garlic and onions contain beneficial sulfur compounds that are believed to have effects at each stage of cancer formation and affect many biological processes that modify cancer risk.
A number of population studies show an association between increased intake of garlic and reduced risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, breast and others. It also includes an answer to a very key question: How can garlic act to prevent cancer? Garlic contains natural antibacterial properties, which have been proven to halt the activation of cancer-causing substances, enhance DNA repair, reduce cell proliferation, or induce cell death.”
There are other studies on how garlic can help reduce pancreatic cancer in the early stages (one of the most deadly forms cancer). In fact, studies have shown the risk of cancer is as much as 55% lower in people who ate larger amounts of garlic and onions compared with those who ate lower amounts. This is especially true of populations in other countries who have a high garlic and onion diet.
Overall, garlic is a top cancer-fighting superfood that should be incorporated into everyone’s diet as much as possible!
• Battles Colds, Flu Bugs and Infections
The chemical compound Allicin found in garlic, which is highly effective at killing countless microorganisms responsible for some of the most common and rarest infections, including the common cold. Garlic actually might help prevent colds as well as other infections. Garlic’s antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties can help relieve a wide range of maladies. It is believed that the Allicin compound helps enhance garlic’s antimicrobial powers.
• Garlic is Great for Fighting Hair Loss
Alopecia is a common autoimmune skin disease, causing hair loss on the scalp, face and sometimes on other areas of the body. Different treatments are currently available, but no cure is yet known. However, the use of garlic gel mixed with coconut oil has proven to help reduce hair loss symptoms.
• Garlic for Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating type of dementia that can rob people of the ability to think clearly, perform everyday tasks and even remember who they even are. Garlic contains antioxidants that can support the body’s protective mechanisms against oxidative damage that can contribute to these cognitive illnesses. Studies find that significant neuro-protective properties of aged garlic extract and its active compound S-allyl-L-cysteine (SAC) could be used to develop future drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
• Great for Warding Off Diabetes
Garlic has shown its ability to help diabetics as well. Eating garlic has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels, potentially stop or decrease the effects of some diabetes complications, as well as fight infections, reduce LDL cholesterol and encourage circulation by as much as 50%!
Best Ways to Use Garlic
Garlic is best used raw for microbial properties, although cooked garlic still has quite a bit of nutritional value. In fact, the antioxidant value is equal, or can even be higher, when cooked. As we know, cooking most food tends to decrease nutritional content, but there are a few superfoods like garlic that thrive under low cooking heat, where nutrition can in fact be enhanced!
You can add raw garlic to all sorts of recipes – dishes that are sautéed, roasted, baked or even steamed. Toss a little raw garlic into your next salad. It’s of course great for marinades, tomato sauce, soup, stew, and many other dish. Adding garlic adds tremendous nutritional value as well as incredible flavor and taste!
Did You Know? When you chop garlic up, an enzyme known as Alliinase within the garlic’s cells is released, which helps convert it to an organosulfur compound known as Allicin. Scientists suggest allowing garlic to stand for 10 minutes after chopping or crushing before cooking it.
Garlic as Medicine
Another way to use garlic is for infections. Using garlic oil is an excellent ear infection home remedy that can really work.
Many cultures around the globe, who consume high amounts of garlic in their diets, don’t experience maladies such as heart disease, cancer and inflammatory-based illnesses, like we do in the west. The truth is most illnesses are preventable when eating the right foods, garlic being on the top of the list.
Garlic is best stored at room temperature and to keep it from sprouting, it should always be kept dry. There are all sorts of garlic holders sold at culinary stores that can be placed on your kitchen counter. You can also keep garlic in a clean jar for easy access.
How Garlic Grows
Garlic grows underneath the soil in the form of a bulb. This bulb has long green shoots that come out from the top while its roots extend downward. Garlic (Allium sativum) is a perennial plant of the amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae), a class of bulb-shaped plants, which include chives, leeks, onions and scallions.
The garlic plant is native to central Asia but grows wild in Italy, France and parts of the Mediterranean. The bulb of the plant is what we all know as garlic. What is a garlic clove? The garlic bulb is covered with several layers of inedible papery skin that when peeled away reveal up to 20 edible bulblets called cloves inside.
Garlic contains countless vital nutrients such as flavonoids, oligosaccharides, amino acids, allicin and high levels of sulfur, and eating garlic regularly has been proven to provide unbelievable health benefits. Raw garlic also contains essential oil, which is extremely beneficial to vibrant health.
Raw garlic is conventionally measured for cooking and medicinal purposes by the clove. Each garlic clove is packed with health-promoting components.
A clove of raw garlic contains about:
1 gram carbohydrates
0.2 gram protein
0.1 gram fiber
0.1 milligram manganese (3 percent DV)
0.9 milligram vitamin C (2 percent DV)
5.4 milligrams calcium (1 percent DV)
0.4 micrograms selenium (1 percent DV)
How to Grow Garlic at Home
Garlic is one of the more simple crops to grow. It thrives in different zones all across the U.S. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, we should plant our cloves during the fall season and harvest them in late spring/early summer. Plant the cloves root-end down in a sunny spot in your garden and trim off the shoots once the bulb produces them. Garlic flourishes in dry, loose, well-drained soils in sunny locations.
Did You Know? You can plant garlic cloves from leftovers! It’s true. So if you make a great stir fry, or soup or your favorite baked dish, save the garlic from it and plant them in the ground. They will grow new plants!
Garlic History and Interesting Facts
We all know… Garlic wards off vampires! Haha! Garlic was carried as a charm against vampires and other evils. In France during the early 18th century, gravediggers drank wine containing crushed garlic to protect themselves from the plague.
Garlic has been used by humans for at least 7,000 years that we know of. Probably more. In ancient and medieval times, it was revered for its medicinal properties. During both World War I and II, garlic was used as an antiseptic for wounds and was given to prevent infections, such as gangrene, in soldiers.
Each bulb of garlic is made up of four to 20 cloves with each clove of garlic weighing about a gram. Garlic supplements can be made from fresh, dried or aged garlic, or garlic oil.
Potential Side Effects of Raw Garlic
Raw garlic consumed can be strong and can cause minor upsets such as gas and bad breath! But, taken in small doses, garlic is very good for you.
- Garlic is a natural blood thinner. If you are on blood thinning medications, ask your doctor if garlic is safe for you. Due to bleeding concerns, stop taking garlic at least two weeks before any scheduled surgery.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, garlic is believed to be safe, but due to its strength, consult your physician beforehand.
- In small amounts for short periods of time, garlic is said to be safe for children. However, garlic should never be given to children in large doses.
- If you have any gastrointestinal problems, raw garlic can irritate the GI tract in large doses, so go easy on it if you have these issues.
- Raw garlic can cause skin irritations if applied to the skin alone directly, so be cautious with skin contact.
- Talk to your doctor before consuming raw garlic for any health issues you may have.
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