Garlic is the "anti-" vegetable: anti-stress, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory!
I often suggest ways to boost the immune system because that is the first thing to break down when you experience chronic stress. A compromised immune system makes you vulnerable to every germ, virus, and fungus that comes along. Fortunately, garlic is a food that not only reduces stress, it is great at fighting bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Following are excerpts from several health and nutrition websites with all the details and evidence supporting the claims for this amazing vegetable. All emphasis in the form of bold type has been added by me.
Garlic is perhaps one of the most ancient medicinal plants. The Egyptians fed garlic to pyramid construction crews for strength. The Romans gave garlic to both workers and soldiers, intending to affect both strength and courage. Mentioned in Hindu writings, in works attributed to Hippocrates, and in a medieval disquisition, garlic is enjoying a revival in popularity, which seems less surprising than the fact that its virtues were ever forgotten. During
Through modern scientific study, garlic has been found to possess antiseptic, antibiotic, and antiviral qualities. Some of its effect on the immune system, however, may also be linked to its ability to lower stress. In Dr. John Heinerman’s book, The Healing Benefits of Garlic, he discusses evidence presented at the World Garlic Congress, in the early part of the decade. Based on information set forth by Dr. Richard Kvetnansky of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislavia, Heinerman concludes that virtually all forms of raw garlic would "exhibit anti-stress activity to varying extents.” A French researcher claims specifically that garlic elicits a calming effect, as it triggers release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and in his book, Garlic for Health, Benjamin Jau, M.D., Ph.D., cites significant results in a study done on stress-beleaguered rats. The rats in the study that had been fed garlic performed nearly two times better than the control group in a test for physical endurance. Perhaps the answer to mystery of how the pyramids were built lies not in the heavens, but under our feet, where the garlic bulb grows.
Garlic can be consumed in non-odor producing capsules, but don’t overlook its potential in the kitchen. Much of the current inquiry into the benefits of garlic was undertaken upon realization that the garlic-eating populations of the world experience a level of resistance against disease. Simply put, remember where it all began. Of course, garlic’s strength is also its weakness. As it blazes its trail through the body, evidence of its power remains in the air. Garlic applied to the skin, even on the soles of the feet, will be exhaled in the breath. The effects of eating garlic can be neutralized by chewing coffee beans, parsley, raw apple slices, or baked beet root. Alternatively, finely chopped garlic, swallowed without chewing, greatly reduces breath odor.
Garlic contains allicin, ajoene and thiosulfinates -- three powerful compounds that help the body prevent and fight infections. The compounds are so strong that consuming raw garlic juice is nearly as effective as Neosporin is for disinfecting minor wounds. When applied to the skin, garlic beats topical creams like Tinactin and other antifungal agents in fighting athlete’s foot. Evidence has been documented suggesting that people who consume large quantities of garlic on the onset of a cold will reduce the amount of time it takes them to heal.
What gives garlic and onions their medicinal properties? The answer is related to the group of sulfur-based phytocHemicals they contain. The active component of garlic is a sulfur compound, which is converted to allicin when garlic is crushed or chopped. It is one of the most important compounds in garlic's nutritional makeup. Yet, it is not the only phytochemical contained in garlic. Others include allylic sulfides, mono-terpenes, tri-terpenes, and phbenolic acids.
Cooking with garlic may alter the activity of some of the phytochemicals in garlic. For example, studies have shown that heating in a microwave or oven can minimize garlic's cancer fighting benefits. However, if the garlic is minced or crushed and allowed to stand for at least 10 minutes before heating, there is little or no loss of the phytochemical, allicin. The 10 minute standing time allows for enzymes present in garlic to start producing allicin.
New York Times
By JANE E. BRODY
Various garlic compounds with antioxidant properties help to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. In people with elevated cholesterol, garlic supplements taken daily for months, including the tablets sold as Kwai that are widely used in Europe, lowered cholesterol levels by an average of from 9 to 14 percent, which should translate into an 18-to-28-percent reduction in heart attack risk. Garlic can also lower levels of potentially harmful blood fats called triglycerides.
Probably more important is the ability of garlic components to reduce the blood's clotting tendency by lessening the stickiness of blood platelets and by promoting anti-clotting activity. Scientists at the
Following leads like the findings that garlic eaters in
In animal studies, those treated with garlic and exposed to cancer-causing agents developed fewer cancers than animals that did not get any garlic. Dr. Milner has also studied five human tumors in laboratory cultures and has shown that one garlic compound, diallyl disulfide, is very effective in inhibiting tumor growth. Other studies suggest that garlic can help prevent metastasis, the spread of cancer from its original site to other parts of the body.
Dr. Pierson said that in healthy people, both the liquid and dried forms of aged garlic extract resulted in a rise of natural killer cells. These immune system cells help to block the spread of cancers.
French researchers at the
Garlic as Food Vs. Garlic Pills
Sales of garlic supplements in the
Fresh garlic, even at $2 a pound, is much less expensive than supplements, and garlic powder seasoning is even cheaper, selling for about $2 for four grams, as against $10 to $14 for a quarter teaspoon of active ingredients in a garlic powder supplement, says Dr. Herbert Pierson of Preventive Nutrition Consultants Inc.
Dr. John Milner of
Garlic is least irritating to the body when cooked; when used in dressings, whole unpeeled cloves can be parboiled for a few minutes. For those concerned about garlic breath, Dr. Milner said, "a deodorized form is a viable option."
Anyone who has a bleeding disorder or ulcers or who is taking anticoagulants would be wise to avoid garlic supplement products, since they can promote bleeding. Those who take them should do so only with food or at regular meals and should not exceed the manufacturer's recommended dosage.
So there you have it….the excellent stress-reducing and health benefits of garlic!
As always, I believe natural is best and hope you will include fresh garlic rather than a supplement. Whatever form you choose, I do strongly believe that including garlic in your diet will reduce your stress as it delivers holistic health and wellness.
Now, where did I stash that recipe for garlic pizza…..