GarlicGarlic is a very healthy vegetable that belongs to the same botanical family as the onion, which has been utilized by mankind for thousands of years. Not only as a food source but also as a medicine. The medicinal properties of garlic where already described in the Codex Ebers, a medical handbook dating from the time of the Pharaohs (1500 BC.). Nowadays, garlic has a prominent place in the kitchen worldwide.

To assure yourself of the most benefits of the healthy properties of garlic, you ahould after cutting or pressing the garlic leave it standing for a few minutes before you use it for cookimg. Garlic contains the chemical compound alliine which after cutting or pressing the garlic gets converted into allicin, the component that is mainly responsible for the smell of garlic. The enzym that is responsible for this conversion is deactivated during the cooking or frying of garlic and that's why the pungent odor decreases during cooking or frying. Therefore it's best to add garlic at the end of the cooking time to add maximum flavor and health benefits to your dish. When you eat garlic raw you're assured of the most health benefits, but when you find the flavor of raw garlic to strong, it's best to add it at end of the cooking time.

The chemical compounds alliin and allicin in garlic both have a cholesterol lowering effect. Especially with people who have high cholesterol levels, garlic decreases the bad LDL cholesterol levels significantly. Elevated cholesterol levels are a risk factor for atherosclerosis, the clogging of blood vessels. Garlic ensures that the undesirable clumping of blood platelets occurs less quickly. Garlic also has anti-inflammatory properties, which also helps to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.

Another reason why garlic is so healthy for your heart and blood vessels is because garlic causes blood cells to release hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide controls the blood pressure and ensures that the blood pressure drops in people with elevated blood pressure. In addition, garlic has a vasodilatory effect which improves the blood flow. This effect is also beneficial for men who suffer form erectile dysfunction. A research trial in the BBC program 'The truth about food' found that eating four cloves of raw garlic a day for three months enabled six out of seven men with erectile dysfunction could once again get an erection.

Garlic also protects against cancer. When used on a daily basis garlic protects against virtually all types of cancer. But when you only eat garlic a few times a week, it only protects against the development of colon cancer. The difference between daily and regular use appears to make a real difference, so if you want to maximize garlics anti-cancerous effects you should better eat lots of garlic. Two cloves a day should be enough. That may seem like a lot, but in Southern Europe, people eat an average of 12 garlic cloves a day.

Some health benefits of garlic summed up,

  • Garlic is a source of the vitamins B1, B6 & C.
  • Garlic contains the minerals manganese, copper, selenium, phosphorus and calcium.
  • Garlic is very healthy for your heart and blood vessels.
  • Garlic provides with daily use protection against virtually all types of cancer.
  • Garlic improves the iron metabolism in the body.
  • Garlic had antiviral activity and can help with the treatment of warts, by eating garlic and through applying it directly on the warts.
  • Garlic helps fighting off diseases like colds and the flu (also both virus infections).
  • Garlic also works well in combating fungal infections.
  • Garlic contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage, and thus reduces the risk of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.
  • Garlic helps the body to remove heavy metals like lead.
  • Garlic is very effective in fighting pathogenic bacteria that are the cause of foodborne diseases.
  • Garlic has a strong antiseptic effect when applied externally.
  • Garlic has anti-inflammatory activity in the whole body.