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Why I can't stop raving about garlic

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

Although the idea of any one food alone being able to cure disease is a bit far-fetched, there is no denying that garlic is a really great addition to our diets for our health. Garlic itself is pretty nutrient-dense but the majority of it’s healing abilities come from a compound called allicin. This is released when we chop or crush the garlic. So putting aside the fear of garlic breath after dinner, here is why we should all add some more of this powerful superfood into our daily diet.

There is good evidence to support that garlic is supportive of cardiovascular health.

According to the British Heart Foundation, heart and circulatory diseases cause a quarter of all deaths in the UK. Could garlic be a useful tool we can all use to help keep our cardiovascular system healthy? Daily garlic consumption of around 4 cloves has been shown to elicit a natural ability to lower blood pressure. Not only this, but garlic extracts have also demonstrated an ability to decrease fat cells moving towards our arteries and plaque build up.

Studies are beginning to show the promising effects of garlic for immune support and inflammation reduction. Garlic has antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antiparasitic properties. Does this mean if we get an infection we should stick a bulb of garlic on it? No, but does it mean garlic is a brilliant way to help keep these nasties at bay? Absolutely.

Garlic is also good for our liver. Garlic induces phase II liver detoxification. This means it helps our body to better eliminate drugs, toxins and carcinogens. Since we're all living in such toxic times, eating more garlic could be a great way for us all to support our health. Garlic and allicin have also been found to decrease the production of cholesterol by our liver cells.

So all of this is great but you're probably wondering how you can add more garlic into your diet. The Allicin in the garlic (the good stuff we want) can be deactivated by heat. The best thing to do is to crush your garlic before cooking and allow it to stand for ten minutes. There is also black garlic, which is sometimes called snacking garlic. This is when the garlic is aged, which makes the garlic sweeter and much more palatable to eat on its own.

My personal favourite way to eat garlic is to forage your own garlic leaves. This can usually be seen in early spring so now is the best time to go looking for some! You pick the long green leaves and leave the flowers. These can be made into a delicious homemade pesto, or chopped into stir fries and sprinkled over meals.

Some important things to consider: Garlic is so good at lowering blood pressure, that if you are on blood pressure lowering medications, garlic could interact with your medicine so please speak with a doctor before increasing your consumption. Garlic may also interact with the effects of the drug warfarin. Some people report heartburn, abdominal discomfort and flatulence after eating garlic, so most importantly listen to your body.


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