Food of the Week: Garlic
OK, so it makes your breath bad -- that's a small price to pay for a food that reduces inflammation, kills nasty bugs in your system, and tastes great on toast.
Research shows that garlic inhibits enzymes that can lead to inflammation, and thereby help with illnesses like asthma and arthritis.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is associated with high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (part of the immune system). For years, experts have doubted that fibromyalgia involved inflammation, but some new evidence has suggested that it does, and many of our common comorbid conditions are inflammatory.
Anti-inflammatory drugs can be really hard on your liver and digestive system, so it's important to have alternative ways to fight inflammation.
Antibacterial & Antiviral Properties
Studies have shown that garlic can kill all kinds of nasty bugs, including:
- The common cold
- Stomach viruses
- Candida (yeast)
It's also been shown to lower levels of a chemical that helps make your body a good host for viruses, including HIV, resulting in lower viral loads.
Garlic is also good for your heart and can lower your risk of some kinds of cancer. (Onions have some of the same compounds, however, and may be more effective against cancer.)
Garlic in Your Diet
For the health benefits, you're much better off using fresh garlic than garlic powder. If you're not accustomed to cooking with fresh garlic, here's a great article from About.com Home Cooking Guide Peggy Trowbridge Filippone: Garlic Cooking Tips & Hints. You'll also find links there to a lot more information on using garlic.
I love garlic, but I do tend to be lazy and grab the powdered stuff too often. It's not hard to use fresh, so now I've set a goal to use it more often. My kids are begging to put in a vegetable garden next spring, so maybe I'll get really adventuresome and plant a few bulbs.
If you don't like the taste of garlic, you can take it in supplement form. However, be sure to look for the odorless kind -- otherwise, you'll taste it (and smell like it) all day.
Do you use garlic to improve your health? Have you noticed any results? How do you like to cook with garlic? Leave your comments below!
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