I am sure many of us know the numerous health benefits of garlic but you are deterred from eating it because of that odor which sometimes, even the costliest perfume cannot remove. However, before I disclose that secret, we need a refresher course for those that know already and an eye opener for those who don’t.

Garlic is one of the most valuable and versatile foods on the planet that I actually do not know where to start.

GARLIC, the wonder worker.

GARLIC, the wonder worker.

It belongs to the Allium family of vegetables to which onions also belongs. What some of us do not know is that garlic is more than a spice/vegetable used for culinary purposes. Garlic has medicinal values too numerous to mention in one post, but we will just dwell on the basics.

CANCER: “This remarkable little bulb now tops the American National Cancer Institute’s list of potential cancer-preventative foods. It contains multiple anticancer compounds and antioxidants, more than 30 at the last count” researchers say. Garlic’s ajoene and allicin have also been shown to retard cancer cells as a type of natural chemotherapy. Garlic has germanium in it and this Germanium is an anti-cancer agent which garlic has more of it than any other herb. The first time I came into this knowledge, I began to wonder why this disease is still on the increase. It is because we neglect garlic maybe as it comes cheap and natural, besides, we are scared of the smell, and yea, the odor can be repelling.

HEART DISEASES: It has been proven that garlic benefits the circulatory and respiratory systems tremendously. It reduces high blood pressure; it increases the good type of cholesterol and reduces the bad type, assists in reducing coronary heart diseases and artery hardening. There are so many other medical jargon as to how the heart benefits from garlic, but what concerns us is that these actions keep your heart healthy, prevent what they call arteriosclerosis thereby reducing the chances of stroke or heart attack. According to studies, these benefits from garlic stems from its ability to reduce the amount of free radicals in the bloodstream due to the sulphuric compounds it contains. In fact, it keeps the heart healthy.

IMMUNE SYSTEM: Garlic contains many antioxidants which greatly assist the immune system thereby ensuring that your body is protected against various bacterial and viral attacks. I experienced this recently, everyone in the office was coming down with cold and for me, cold does not usually pass me by without entering my base once it is in the neighbourhood. But this time, I was high on my garlic daily tonic and just like a miracle, cold passed me by without so much as a knock on my door. I was amazed. Try it I urge you.
The Allicin which is a major component of garlic released when it is chopped, chewed or bruised is a powerful antibiotics assisting the body in fighting bacteria and germs, including those that cause pimples!

Garlic is a must have in every home considering its usefulness in our everyday living.
i. Prevention against food poisoning. Garlic has anti-bacterial characteristics and these make it possible for it to help inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause food poisoning. Therefore adding it to your food at the right temperature does not only add taste and flavor to your meals but protects you too.
ii. Raw garlic rubbed repeatedly on tooth and gums takes care of toothache.
iii. Crush raw garlic and rub it against cold sores and you get immediate relief from the pains and healing of the sores
iv. Cloves of garlic cut into tiny pieces and swallowed cures constipation, stomach cramps, etcetera.
v. Garlic is also good in fighting cold, acting as decongestant and expectorant.
vi. You can trust garlic to take care of many other health issues like warts, herpes, asthma, bruises, insect stings, athlete’s foot, removal of splinters, coughs, and such. The list is endless; you just have to experiment to find out. There is no harm in trying out several others on your own.
In addition to these, garlic contains vitamins C, B6, manganese and selenium all of which are highly beneficial to the body.

To get the maximum benefit of garlic, it should be taken in its raw form or cooked in low temperature for a very short time, preferably when the food is almost done or immediately you remove it from the fire. The allicin does not survive in extreme heat.
Moreover, it is advisable to crush/pound or mince garlic bit before adding it to your dish to aid the working of the allinase enzymes.

Most people are scared of the offensive odor of raw garlic and for that, they will not touch it with a ten foot pole. But I am your harbinger of good news today. Here are some ways you can eat garlic so no one even notices you did.
* Cut the peeled garlic clove into tiny bits then swallow with water as if you are taking pills.
* Chew the garlic together with fresh tomatoes.
* Drinking lemon juice or eating a few slices of lemon clears the bad breath.
* Pieces the garlic and down it with olive oil.

So you see, nothing stops you from tapping into this well of goodness, after all, with all these diseases flying around, healthy living is your best bet and with garlic, you cannot go wrong.
photo courtesy of shutterstock