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Benefits Of Garlic

Published 7/1/13

What Is Garlic?

Garlic, scientifically known as allium sativum, is closely related to onions, shallot, leek, chive and rakkyo as it is part of the onion genus. Native to Central Asia, garlic has been a staple in Asian, African, and European cultures mainly as a seasoning but also for medicinal uses. Garlic is a popular crop around the world because it is easy to grow and can be cultivated in mild climates throughout the year. 

Garlic Nutrition

The nutritional content for only one serving of garlic is very respectable. One serving of garlic includes 71% DV (daily recommended value) of vitamin C, 20% DV of potein, 20% DV of Thiamin, 85% DV of vitamin B6, 11% Dv of dietary fiber, 25% Dv of calcium, 20% DV of phosphorus, 115% Dv of manganese, 15% Dv of potassium, and 20% DV of copper. One serving of garlic also contains over 27-milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids and over 310-milligrams of omega-6 fatty acids.

Garlic Health Benefits

The list of health benefits stemming from a diet high in fresh garlic consumption is quite long. One benefit of garlic consumption is reducing the "bad" LDL cholesterol levels while increasing the "good" HDL cholesterol levels. Garlic has been a popular antioxidant throughout history due to its allicin content, an organosulfur compound. Allicin is able to reduce the risks associated with heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer such as breast, prostate, and colon cancers while boosting the immune system. These benefits of garlic associated with allicin may also stem from the hydrogen sulfide that the body produces after consuming garlic.

The New York Times reported on a study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham that concluded that the body begins to naturally produce hydrogen sulfide, via the body's red blood cells, when the body consumes natural garlic juice. Hydrogen sulfide in high concentrations is actually poisonous, but the human body naturally produces small amounts of it as the hydrogen sulfide acts as an antioxidant as well as relaxes the blood vessels and increases blood flow. Thanks to these benefits of hydrogen sulfide, garlic benefits cardiovascular health in general. 

 

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