Garlic is a species in the onion family. Its close relatives include the onion and shallot. Garlic has been used throughout history for both cooking and medicinal purposes. Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavor, as a seasoning or condiment. Garlic is rich in a variety of powerful sulfur-containing compounds including thiosulfinates, sulfoxides, and dithiins. While these compounds are responsible for garlic's characteristically pungent odor, they are also the source of many of its health-promoting effects.


In addition, garlic is an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C and a good source of selenium. Garlic has traditionally been said to have many health promoting benefits. Numerous studies have demonstrated potential benefits of regular garlic consumption on blood pressure, serum triglyceride level, and cholesterol levels. Garlic and garlic-derived supplements can help reduce the risk of heart disease in several important ways. Garlic lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, lessens destructive oxidation and decreases the formation of blood clots. It also slows hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis) and helps maintain their elasticity. At the same time, garlic decreases troublesome symptoms of atherosclerosis, such as poor circulation, fatigue and headaches.


As a result of these beneficial actions, garlic can be described as a food that may help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke. Blood pressure increases in response to the body's production of angiotensen I-converting enzyme (ACE). Some prescription blood pressure drugs work as "ACE inhibitors," blocking formation of the chemical. Garlic contains gamma-glutamylcysteine, a natural ACE inhibitor thus this substance can help regulate blood pressure. Garlic "is one of the most ancient of plants reputed to have an anticancer effect.


Garlic is said to protect against cancer by directly inhibiting tumor cell metabolism, by preventing the initiation and reproduction of cancer cells, and by boosting a person's immune system to more efficiently fight cancer cells.This humble bulb has been shown to improve digestion, enhance the immune system and liver, and is good for the heart, circulation, and eyes. Garlic also has natural antibiotic properties and when crushed, it yields allicin, a powerful antibiotic and anti-fungal compound. However due to poor bioavailability it is of limited use for oral consumption. Garlic extract has broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against many genera of bacteria and fungi.


Garlic, like onions, contains anti-inflammatory compounds and along with the vitamin C, make it useful for helping to protect against severe attacks in some cases of asthma and may also help reduce the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.


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