Garlic (scientific name Allium sativum) is a species in the onion genus, Allium.
Garlic has long been recognized for its potential to reduce our risk of certain cancers. But only recently have studies begun to focus more on cancers of the upper digestive system.
What Is Garlic?
Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive and Chinese onion. With a history of several thousand years of human consumption and use, garlic is native to Central Asia and northeastern Iran, and has long been a common seasoning worldwide. It was known to Ancient Egyptians, and has been used both as a food flavoring and as a traditional medicine.
Today, China, South Korea, India, Spain, and the U.S. are foremost in garlic production. Not only does it lend a delicious complexity to foods, it claims legitimate beneficence for dozens of different maladies.
Fresh garlic has nutritional benefits superior to that of any kind of processing, such as minced and refrigerated, or dried in flakes. Whole garlic bulbs will keep fresh for about a month if stored properly, preferably away from sunlight in an uncovered container.
Health Benefits of Garlic
The benefits of garlic intake for decreased risk of cardiovascular disease have now been extended to each of the following conditions: heart attack (myocardial infarct), coronary artery disease (CAD), high blood pressure (hypertension), Fever, Cough, Asthma, Antibiotic, Diuretic, Malaria and atherosclerosis.
With garlic, you get an excellent supply of manganese – 23 percent of the daily value – containing essential enzymes and antioxidants that perform all kinds of amazing feats in the body, including the healthy formation of bones and connective tissues, bone metabolism, calcium absorption, and proper thyroid function, just to name a few.
The everyday flexibility of our blood vessels has been shown to improve with intake of garlic, and the likelihood of blood vessel damage due to chronic excessive inflammation has been shown to decrease when this Allium vegetable in consumed on a regular basis.
Adverse Effects And Toxicology
Garlic is known to cause bad breath (halitosis) and body odor, described as a pungent “garlicky” smell to sweat. This is caused by allyl methyl sulfide (AMS). AMS is a volatile liquid which is absorbed into the blood during the metabolism of garlic-derived sulfur compounds; from the blood it travels to the lungs (and from there to the mouth, causing bad breath; see garlic breath) and skin, where it is exuded through skin pores. Washing the skin with soap is only a partial and imperfect solution to the smell. Studies have shown sipping milk at the same time as consuming garlic can significantly neutralize bad breath. Mixing garlic with milk in the mouth before swallowing reduced the odor better than drinking milk afterward. Plain water, mushrooms and basil may also reduce the odor; the mix of fat and water found in milk, however, was the most effective.