Garlic: The Healthiest Spice of All Times
If there's a spice that provides the most health benefits for the human body since time immemorial, nothing comes close to allium sativum or most commonly known in the kitchen as garlic. If there's a long list of dishes that garlic helps in making more palatable, there is also the same long list for diseases that garlic helps prevent or treat. No wonder that it is considered to be one of the most versatile spices in the kitchen and most importantly, the healthiest spice of all times.
We know garlic as the white spice that we often crush, mince, or slice to cook food. But before this, garlic belongs to the Alliaceae family together with onions, leek, and chives. The most commonly used part of garlic for culinary and health purposes are the garlic cloves usually underground, below its long, grass-like leaves. Historical use of garlic is traced during the time the Egyptians were building the great pyramids that it was even found in King Tut's tomb. There were evidences that the Egyptians used garlic both for culinary and medicinal purposes. Traditional uses of Garlic include treatment for the common colds, flu, hypertension, animal bites, and plague.
Scientific researches on garlic all over the world reported that this versatile herb is useful for numerous health conditions ranging from the common colds up to some forms of cancer. Garlic benefits cardiovascular health. It contains a very active compound called allicin that helps relax the blood vessels, which results to lowering blood pressure. Additionally, garlic helps reduce cholesterol levels in the bloodstream and thus, prevents heart diseases like atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, and coronary artery disease. Garlic is also considered an effective alternative to antibiotics for the digestive and respiratory infections caused by gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Garlic is known as a powerful immune booster, strengthening the body's natural defenses against invading microorganisms and toxins that can cause diseases. Aside from its antibacterial action, it also exhibits anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-toxin mechanisms. The immune-boosting benefits of garlic make it a very effective remedy for common colds and flu. Garlic has shown to increase the levels of Glutathione peroxidase, the most powerful among all antioxidants. High glutathione levels are associated with anti-ageing, increased energy, and prevention of degenerative diseases. Garlic is often used as an active ingredient in skin care products like creams and lotions for the treatment of acne vulgaris or pimples. And lastly, cancer is reported to possess anti-cancer properties. Studies suggest that regular intake of garlic helps reduce the risk factor for developing some forms of cancer like stomach cancer, colon cancer, and colorectal cancer.
These days, you don't have to eat fresh garlic and suffer from the nasty garlic breath. Garlic is widely available in capsules and pills with the right amount of allicin and other important garlic ingredients to help keep you healthy. New varieties of garlic supplements are emerging in the market like the aged garlic extract and garlic oil with specialized mechanisms on providing all the remarkable garlic health benefits.
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