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14 February, 2020
Garlic: a product of Spanish origin
20 March, 2020
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Six reasons to eat garlic daily

Many of our dishes would lose their touch without the flavor of garlic, but there are many more reasons to eat GARLIC daily. A bulb-shaped plant similar to chives, leeks or onions. One of the differences between garlic and the rest of the bulbs is their appearance: the garlic bulb is covered with several layers of skin similar to a thin paper that, when peeled, reveals up to 20 small edible bulbs, garlic cloves.

Allicin, its star ingredient

But talking about garlic is not just about a simple cooking seasoning and its peculiar shape. The interest in fresh garlic and its potential benefits has its origin in antiquity. It is one of the first plants used to treat diseases, even biblical references to garlic have been found. This food is also particular for its smell and taste. Whole garlic contains a compound called alliin. When crushed, cut or grated, this compound becomes allicin, the main active ingredient in garlic.

Allicin contains sulfur, which is what gives it its distinctive smell and taste. It is at maximum power in fresh and raw garlic cloves. However, allicin is unstable, so it quickly converts to other sulfur-containing compounds that are believed to give garlic its medicinal properties. It is believed that the antimicrobial, hypolipidermic, antioxidant and antithrombotic effects attributed to garlic are primarily related to allicin.

Garlic, a sum of benefits

A clove of raw peeled garlic (about three grams) contains, according to the nutritional database of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), 4.5 calories; one gram of carbohydrates; 5.4 grams of calcium; 0.9 grams of vitamin C; 0.2 grams of protein; and 0.1 grams of fiber, among other nutrients. Thanks to the sum of all these main nutrients and allicin, garlic is attributed several properties:

  • Antibacterial and antifungal properties: a compound of garlic, diallyl sulfide, is 100 times more effective than two antibiotics (erythromycin and ciprofloxacin) to fight the bacteria Campylobacter sp., One of the most common causes of intestinal disease.
  • Antiviral properties: anecdotal evidence also suggests that it has antiviral properties thanks to the presence of selenium, which has been shown to inhibit the spread of viral infections.
  • Digestive: garlic, in the right amount, improves the secretion of stomach juices and, thanks to its antiseptic properties, helps some stomach and digestive diseases. This is because they contain prebiotics, compounds that feed the microorganisms in fermented foods (known probiotics) and help maintain intestinal health.
  • Helps control high blood pressure: garlic’s ability to reduce high blood pressure would be similar to standard medication, according to a study published in 2014 according to which polysulfides in the spice promote the opening of blood vessels and, by Therefore, the reduction of blood pressure.
  • Prevention of heart disease: garlic is rich in organosulfur compounds, with the ability to reduce total cholesterol, LDL and HDL, in people with high levels. The American Heart Association (AHA) publishes dietary recommendations to prevent the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as high consumption of fruits and vegetables and whole-grain products. It also offers a list of specific foods with some cardioprotective effect. And garlic is one of these foods, along with nuts or legumes.
  • Regarding its possible preventive role against cancer, the National Cancer Institute, although it does not recommend any dietary supplement for cancer prevention, does recognize garlic as one of several vegetables with “possible anti-cancer properties”.

How much garlic is recommended to consume

Although the effective dose of garlic is not well determined, a recommended dose of about four grams (one or two teeth) for adults of raw garlic per day is set. The side effects of garlic consumption are generally mild and rare. Garlic’s bad reputation is justified not by keeping vampires away, but by giving halitosis and body odor.

Excessive consumption of garlic has also been linked, especially on an empty stomach, with gastrointestinal upset or flatulence. It has not been shown to have an effect on drug metabolism, although the United States Academy of Family Physicians (AFP) suggests that people who take anticoagulants be “cautious.” Due to its anticoagulant effects, it is recommended to avoid consuming large amounts of garlic before and after surgery.

How to make the most of garlic

The way garlic is processed or prepared significantly changes the way we can benefit. It is worth remembering that the best way to