A clove of garlic a day keeps the doctor at bay

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Garlic is often a very common addition to a number of dishes. Right from adding a zing to bread to being a major flavouring agent in biriyanis, those pungent, white blubs of flavour lend a very characteristic tang to whatever they are added to. But garlic most definitely has a large number of health benefits as well.

With healing powers that were documented thousands of years ago by ancient Egyptian healers, garlic has been used as a natural remedy for building physical strength, to treat wounds, as a laxative, to lower blood pressure and increasing immunity.

Loaded with nearly 100 active chemical compounds including potent antioxidants, sulphur compounds, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Known for its anti-clotting, decongestant, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive (lowering blood pressure), anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-oxidant and even cholesterol lowering properties the most important components of this spice is allcin.

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According to research the cardio-protective properties of garlic are brought about by its ability to lower one’s cholesterol levels; especially bad cholesterol. One of the most effective compounds in protecting the heart is ajoene, a by-product of allicin, which is known to reduce the risk of a heart attack by preventing the formation of blood clots. The study also found that eating half a clove of garlic a day may lower blood cholesterol by 9 per cent, provided taken regularly. Research has also found that garlic also significantly lowers high blood pressure and inhibits platelet clumping by reducing inflammation. This is done by blocking the formation of prostaglandins (agents that induce inflammation).

Garlic can also help relieve respiratory disorders. According to studies, garlic sauted in oil releases certain sulfur compounds called vinyldiithins, which are extremely potent bronchodialators(open air passageways in lungs) – thereby relieving breathlessness.

It can also protect you from cancer. Packed with potent dietary nitrites form nitrosamines, Garlic can prevent the formation of harmful cancer causing agents – especially stomach cancer. Apart from that Allylsulfides (sulfur compounds) found in garlic increase the production of detoxification enzymes that help breakdown cancer causing compounds and toxins, and aid in their removal from the body.

Garlic also protect against liver, lung and breast cancer. According to research the compounds in garlic seem to limit the growth and progress of tumour cells; which can be thwarted by consuming six or more pearls of garlic in a week. The research studies especially highlighted the effectiveness of garlic in lowering the risk of colorectal cancer by at least 30 per cent and stomach cancers by 50 percent.