Garlic, which is indispensable in world cuisines, has been used as a medicine for thousands of years as well as giving flavor to meals. Known as a natural antibiotic, garlic cleans the intestines, strengthens immunity and is included in nutrition plans in the fight against many diseases from diabetes to cancer.
Dyt from Memorial Kayseri Hospital Nutrition and Diet Department. Merve Sır gave information about the benefits of garlic and made important warnings about its consumption.
Allicin protects against free radicals
It is known that the Egyptians first used garlic, which is in the group of onion plants. The content of garlic contains 84.09% water, 13.38% organic matter and 1.53% inorganic matter. Garlic, which is 33 kinds of sulfur compounds; Contains zinc, germanium, vitamins A, B1 and C. Garlic contains 'alliin', which is the precursor of allicin and contains sulfur. When garlic cells are damaged by peeling, cutting or chopping, an enzyme called alliinase is released, which immediately reacts with the alliin contained in the air. As a result of this reaction, allicin occurs. Allicin raises the levels of two antioxidant enzymes catalase and glutathione peroxidase in the blood. This way, more free radicals that can damage the cell membrane in the body can be prevented.
What to apply to preserve the nutritional value of garlic
The allicin in garlic is formed only when the cell walls of garlic are damaged (grated or cut). For this reason, studies show that it is healthier to crush garlic before use and then let it steam for about ten minutes. This gives the enzyme alliinase time to produce the protective agent allicin.
The optimal effect should be achieved by cooking the garlic for just a few minutes. Because sulfur compounds are sensitive to heat.
The effect of garlic on lowering blood pressure
It is thought that the vascular system, ie the aging process (such as arteriosclerosis), regresses with garlic. In addition, garlic, which regulates the fluidity of the blood, contributes to the normalization of extremely high blood pressure as it dilates and loosens the vessels. Garlic contains 'saponins', secondary plant substances that have positive effects on the regulation of blood lipids (cholesterol). Thus, it contributes to an improved blood flow and increased elasticity of the vessels. Ajoene is also a sulfur compound found in garlic. By breaking down the coagulant fibrin, it naturally thins the blood. With the help of all these different substances, garlic can neutralize blood clots and prevent thrombosis and strokes in a completely natural way and without side effects, unlike blood thinners.
Natural antibiotic garlic
Garlic is traditionally used for intestinal problems (bloating, fermentation processes, and cramp-like pain conditions) as well as colds and flu. It is also a good source of selenium. Selenium is an essential element for metabolism, immune system, thyroid gland and healthy skin and nails. Especially allicin and sulfur compounds are lethal against all kinds of pathogenic microorganisms and parasites (bacteria, viruses, fungi, amoebas, worms). Therefore, unlike chemical antibiotics, garlic can be defined as a natural antibiotic that supports the preservation of healthy intestinal flora. Since the intestinal flora is the largest part of the immune system, garlic also contributes to the strengthening of the immune system. A healthy intestinal system also ensures better absorption and availability of nutrients, which means more beneficial items reach the cells.
Cystitis is good
In a study, it was determined that aqueous garlic extracts can kill bacteria that have already developed resistance to antibiotics. Some bacteria can cause bladder infections (cystitis) that affect millions of people each year. Garlic can be used by people suffering from urinary tract infections, thereby speeding up healing.
Plays an important role in the fight against cancer
It has been spoken for centuries that garlic has anti-cancer properties. This information has been proven by a number of studies. It is known that the sulfur compounds contained in garlic have anti-cancer effects. The transformation of allicin produces two fat-soluble substances; diallyl sulfide (DAS) and diallyl disulfide (DADS). These sulfur compounds in garlic are assumed to be effective in two processes involved in tumor formation. These compounds, on the one hand, reduce the reactivity of carcinogenic substances and accelerate their elimination. Thus, DNA is less damaged. On the other hand, these compounds can disrupt the growth of cancer cells and thus initiate cell death through apoptosis (suicide). In doing so, they prevent the spread of tumors. The preventive effects of garlic for colon cancer, stomach and esophageal cancer, lung and breast cancer have been proven.
Used against prostate cancer
Two studies on lung cancer in China attract attention. Both garlic and green tea therefore stand out as protective factors in this type of cancer. Scientists suggest that garlic and green tea reduce the influence of typical lung cancer risk factors (smoking, eating fried foods, etc.). Garlic preparations made ready for use have been used for a long time in the treatment of prostate cancer and benign prostate enlargement. Its positive effects on prostate cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and general cancer inhibitory effects come to the fore.
Garlic protects the liver
Garlic prevents it from being degraded by strengthening the cell walls and supporting the liver with its 'detoxification' function, which is the process of cleansing the organism from toxic substances harmful to it. In addition, garlic can be used in heavy metal poisoning (mercury, cadmium) or to reduce the negative consequences of alcohol consumption.
Things to watch out for when consuming garlic
Daily garlic consumption should be in a certain amount in terms of both nutritional values and content. If the person has an additional disease, the opinion of a specialist physician should definitely be obtained. A healthy individual can eat 2 cloves of raw garlic a day.
When too much garlic is consumed, it can cause stomach and intestinal discomfort.
People who are currently using anticoagulant drugs that prevent blood clotting and people with low blood pressure can regularly consume garlic, provided that it is not too much. However, garlic can increase the effect of blood thinning medications. Therefore, before taking garlic juice, dragee and tablets, you should definitely talk to the specialist. When it comes to using fresh garlic, it should be eaten raw if it is to take full advantage of its effects. A daily clove of garlic is sufficient. Garlic should be added after the meals are cooked. Oil, in particular, can increase the effectiveness of garlic.
When garlic is consumed mostly raw, its nutritional values are utilized at maximum level. It should be crushed and consumed after waiting a few minutes and should not be cooked for a long time. If the meals are added after they are cooked, their nutritional value will not be lost.
Fresh garlic or dry?
The active ingredients of fresh garlic are always preferred in dietary supplements. Allicin, the main active ingredient in garlic, is an unstable compound that rapidly converts to less or complex sulfur compounds. Any subsequent processing of garlic by heating, freeze drying, steam distillation, or the like changes the level of effect of the allicin it contains.
What to do for the garlic fragrance?
Many people are disturbed by bad breath after consuming garlic, which has an unpleasant odor. Often times, milk, ginger, lemon juice, and mint sugar suppress the garlic scent for at least some time. Garlic should be kept in a cool and dry environment in the cellar or closed balconies during the winter months and in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator in the summer. After opening a lump, it should be consumed within 10 days to prevent it from drying out. Because basically, the fresher and juicy the better. Another good storage option is to soak the garlic in a jar in oil.