Garlic has been used both in culinary and medicinal purposes for millennia. It dates all the way back to ancient Egyptians. It was thought to bestow endurance and strength to the slaves who built the Pyramids.
Garlic (Allium Sativum) Was first cultivated by the people of Central Asia over 5000 years ago. There are over 300 varieties of garlic grown worldwide and most of the world’s garlic today is consumed in America.
In addition to it being a rich source of vitamins and minerals, garlic also contains unique sulfur compounds that contribute to healthy body functions. One of the sulfur compounds, Allicin, is a powerful antiviral and antibacterial agent that can destroy microbes. However, Allicin isn’t found in garlic when its whole. Two other important sulfur-containing compounds found naturally occurring in garlic, alliin and alliinase are separated by cell walls. When garlic is chopped, smashed or pressed the cell walls are broken allowing the alliin and alliianse to interact, the health-promoting enzyme allicin to be formed. Therefore when chopping, smashing, or pressing garlic, it’s important to wait 5 to 10 minutes for the activation of this important enzyme.
Numerous health benefits of garlic:
It can help with lowering blood pressure and decreasing platelet aggregation, lower serum triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Garlic may also help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Garlic also contains enzymes that help lower inflammation, these anti-inflammatory compounds along with Vitamin C have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation in cases of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as some cases of asthma. In studies garlic has been shown to be effective against infections like the common cold, flu, stomach viruses and even candida yeast. One study found it to be effective in protecting laboratory animals from infection from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus (MSRA).
Add fresh garlic to your daily culinary cuisine or if you are considering adding it a supplement regimen, make sure your supplement contains a standardized amount of allicin and alliin.