Food Focus: Garlic And Its Health Giving Properties

Garlic: A Powerhouse for Cardiovascular Well-being, Immune Enhancement, and Alleviating Methane SIBO and Candida in the Digestive Tract

Garlic is one of the healthiest foods you can eat (unless you suffer from the FODMAP or sulphur sensitivity). To increase the health benefits you receive from garlic let it sit after you've chopped or crushed it. Give your chopped or crushed garlic 5-10 minutes to sit before changing its temperature (through cooking) or its pH (through the addition of acidic food like vinegar or lemon juice), it will give the alliinase enzymes in garlic a chance to work for your health.

Most of the research on garlic has concentrated on its ability to lower cholesterol and blood pressure as well as offering protection against strokes and heart disease. For example, when the Journal of the Royal College of Physicians reviewed data on cholesterol in 1993, it found that after just four weeks there was a 12 per cent reduction in cholesterol levels in the research groups that had taken garlic.

While garlic is gathering a reputation for helping to maintain a healthy heart, regular amounts of garlic seem to also help the body fight off infections.

These antibacterial effects were found in the early 19th century during an outbreak of infectious fever - English priests caught the fever but the French priests, who ate garlic every day, remained healthy. However, you don't need to suffer with a fever to benefit from garlic's health enhancing properties.

A recently published study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the risk of the volunteers catching a cold by half. The researchers also discovered that even when those taking the supplement did develop a cold they were more likely to make a speedier recovery than the non-garlic taking volunteers.

Maximising the Medicinal Power of Garlic

To fully reap the health benefits of garlic, it's important to understand how to prepare and consume it effectively. The process of chopping or crushing garlic and then letting it sit is crucial in activating its key enzymes. These enzymes, particularly alliinase, are responsible for converting alliin into allicin, garlic's most beneficial compound. Allicin is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. Incorporating this simple preparation step ensures that you get the most out of each garlic clove, whether it's added to your cooking or consumed raw.

Garlic's Role in Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Management

The impact of garlic on cardiovascular health is particularly noteworthy. Studies have consistently shown that regular garlic consumption can lead to a significant reduction in cholesterol levels, which is a major factor in preventing heart diseases and strokes. Additionally, garlic has been found to help regulate blood pressure, further enhancing its cardiovascular benefits. This natural remedy offers a simple yet effective way to maintain heart health, alongside a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Candida is a yeast that naturally lives in our digestive system but it can grow out of control. This can occur after taking antibiotics since the good bacteria is killed off along with the bad and that causes and imbalance of all gut organisms. Some of the symptoms of candida overgrowth are fatigue, sugar cravings and mood swings. Consuming garlic can help bring the candida under control.

Garlic in Combatting Methane SIBO

Garlic, specifically its active component allicin, has shown promising results in addressing Methane SIBO, a condition characterized by an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. Allicin exhibits potent antimicrobial properties that can target and reduce the specific bacteria responsible for methane production in the gut. This makes garlic a valuable dietary addition for those struggling with SIBO symptoms, such as bloating, discomfort, and irregular bowel movements. While incorporating garlic into the diet can be beneficial, it's important to consider its tolerability, as some individuals with SIBO may have sensitivities to certain foods. Consulting with a healthcare professional for personalized dietary advice is always recommended when dealing with gut health issues.

If that's not enough, just one clove a day will top up your body's supplies of vitamins A, B and C, as well as a vast array of minerals including selenium, iodine, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium. Garlic is also available in supplemental form if you’re looking for an alternative to antibiotics.

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