Garlic has been used by many cultures for the treatment and prevention of disease for many centuries due to its powerful health benefits matched with a crucial role in many traditional dishes. While many modern doctors have turned to pharmaceuticals in place of health-promoting foods, garlic is emerging as a natural solution to fight off infections — used as an antiviral and antifungal by many natural health practitioners. The best news? Just a few cloves of garlic each day can boost your health, and it may even add some flavor to your daily meals.
Garlic’s Anti-Cancer Benefits
Garlic’s role in the prevention of cancer is perhaps one of the most notorious. Scientists believe that the exceptional anti-cancer properties may have to do with the way that garlic boosts the production of something known as hydrogen sulfide. Also known to protect the heart, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that directly injecting hydrogen sulfide into mice almost completely stopped damage to heart muscle as a result of heart attack. It is the hydrogen sulfide production that researchers believe to be why garlic is so effective at preventing a wide variety of cancer including, prostate, breast, and colon cancer.
“People have known garlic was important and has health benefits for centuries,” said Dr. David W. Kraus, associate professor of environmental science and biology at the University of Alabama. “Even the Greeks would feed garlic to their athletes before they competed in the Olympic games.”
It’s important that you’re preparing garlic the right way, as improper preparation and consumption could negate the positive effects. Oftentimes, home chefs will cook garlic immediately after crushing or chopping it, which is not allowing optimal time for enzyme reactions that boost the healthy compounds in garlic. Instead, crush the garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. In addition, never cook garlic at high heat — try consuming it raw or cooked lightly.