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  • Writer's pictureThe Dietitian

The Magic Of Garlic

It seems most people are either garlic lovers or cannot stand the herb. I am a fan of garlic myself, mostly because of the intense, strong flavors it adds to dishes allowing me to cut back on the amount of salt I use. Garlic is related to onion, leeks and chives, all of which lend strong flavors. Garlic has been well researched as an herbal product to aide in treating health related disorders. It has been used for centuries and seen as the possible cure all for nearly every condition.

However it has been the key ingredient in many studies with some theories proven and some left indecisive. Garlic has been found to help with improving the immune system, protect against cardiovascular disease, treat hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes to name a few. Studies have been insufficient in showing a benefit of taking garlic to prevent or reduce risk of cancers. Garlic can be found in various forms not just in the produce aisle but on the medicine shelf. Garlic is a common herbal supplement.

Like any food, there is no one pill that will cure everything. And eating whole foods provides benefits in a synergistic way that pills rarely if ever do. It seems the components of garlic work synergistically to provide the benefits it holds. Garlic is made of enzymes such as allinase, sulfur containing compounds such as alliin and the compounds produced from alliin (allicin).

The main ingredient in garlic is the compound allicin. Allicin is the component of garlic that gives it it’s wonderful smell. It is unstable and changes into different chemicals quickly. Studies have shown the components of garlic to work in different ways for different conditions. Always talk to your doctor before starting any herbal supplement regimen.

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