You Might Think This Is Weird…
But, in this day and age, I think it’s important to include food in your diet that will definitely give you bad breath.
Not that I’m out here trying to kill your social life or keep you from smooching with your loved ones.
It’s just that one of the healthiest foods around can also contribute to some Dracula murdering breath.
And I think it’s worth the downside…besides, you can always brush your teeth.
Garlic is the food in question, and I’m about to outline some of the more interesting things about this flavorful food choice.
Not Just Good At Keeping Vampires Away
I’m not really all that big on the myth and lore of monsters.
I just refer to them because I think it’s funny how the mythology of these creatures usually has some kind of truth to it.
Garlic has actually been proven quite effective at working to kill off deadly bacteria.
In fact, just this week, scientists discovered a pretty incredible connection between garlic’s unique properties that have shown it’s pretty effective at fighting a very frightening and disgusting “monster” of our own time.
Perhaps you’ve heard of MRSA.
It’s a pretty bad form of staph that can kill. The reason it’s so dangerous is because it doesn’t respond to typical antibiotic treatments.
Well, scientists using an ancient remedy that contained garlic were able to show it could beat the dangerous infection.
So, what is it about garlic that gives it the ability to fight infections like that?
The compound in question is called Allicin.
Allicin is also found in other plants (like onions and shallots) that are all contained in the Allium family.
But, garlic just happens to contain a very potent form of allicin that’s great at attacking dangerous bacteria and working against some of the modern diseases we see in our office frequently.
That’s why ancient cultures like the Babylonians, the Egyptians, and the Chinese would use it as medicine. They just didn’t know what was powering garlic.
So, what else can garlic do for you?
Let me show you. I think you’ll find this pretty exciting.
4 Distinct, Proven Benefits Prove Garlic’s a Good Medicine
Garlic has been shown to:
:: Create Healthy Levels of Cholesterol:
Several studies have been used to show how garlic can help with cholesterol levels.
The interesting thing here is garlic can reduce LDL cholesterol while not affecting the levels of HDL cholesterol. In case you need a reminder, LDL cholesterol is “bad cholesterol”, and HDL is “good cholesterol.”
If you need help remembering which kind of cholesterol is which just think of LDL cholesterol as “loser cholesterol” and HDL as “healthy cholesterol.”
What scientists found is that garlic supplementation lowered the LDL and total cholesterol which has a positive affect on the heart.
They were actually able to note anywhere from a reduction in LDL cholesterol of 10-15%.
:: Help Reduce Blood Pressure:
The truth about these studies is garlic has actually been found to help as much as certain prescription drugs.
A study by Pakistani scientists showed, when patients were given anywhere from 600mg-1,500 mg of aged garlic over a 24-week period, they would see the same results as if they were to use the drug Atenolol.
Another study done by the scientists concluded that supplement with garlic could help reduce blood pressure and prevent oxidative stress. They wrote:
“A moderate decline in blood pressure (BP) and a significant reduction in 8-OHdG, NO levels [a marker of oxidative stress to DNA and a risk factor for cancer, atherosclerosis and diabeties] and lipid peroxidation [Lipid peroxidation refers to the oxidative degradation of lipids] were observed in Group I subjects with GP [Garlic Pearl] supplementation. Further, a significant increase in vitamin levels and TAS was also observed in this group as compared to the control subjects. These findings point out the beneficial effects of garlic supplementation in reducing blood pressure and counteracting oxidative stress, and thereby, offering cardioprotection in essential hypertensives [emphasis added].
What that means is, garlic can actually help fight the formation of free-radicals.
Which brings me to the next amazing quality of garlic.
:: Helps Fight the Formation of Cancer Causing Free-Radicals:
As you just read, garlic works to lower blood pressure. It also has numerous antioxidant qualities as well.
Compounds referred to as S-allylcysteine, S-allylmercaptocysteine, N(alpha)-fructosyl arginine were found in garlic.
Scientists were led to conclude these might actually help fight Alzheimer’s and dementia.
They also mentioned that these same compounds are chemopreventive meaning they can slow down, or reduce the risk of cancer.
Not only were they able to identify those four compounds listed above, they also suggested there might be more unnamed components in garlic that work synergistically to fight attacks on the immune system. One group of scientists noted aged garlic extract (AGE) could almost “prove” garlic will fight disease.
As they said, substantial experimental evidence shows the ability of AGE to protect against oxidant-induced disease.
:: Might Help Improve Physical Performance:
And if you want to get stronger, then garlic might also be something to incorporate into a pre and post workout meal.
First off, this isn’t a new revelation, we now just have the science to back up what ancient Greeks were doing Millenia ago.
In animal studies, researchers were able to determine that rats given garlic saw an increase in exercise performance.
Likewise, people with coronary heart disease were put on garlic supplementation and saw their peak heart rates go down by 12% as well as experience an increase in exercise capacity.
It’s unlikely that popping a clove right before you hit the treadmill would give you a huge boost in performance, but a general diet built with garlic as part could certainly aid in performance.
Is There More to Know about Garlic?
The answer is absolutely.
But I’m not going to be able to cover all of it in here.
I suggest if you really want to to get into the specifics you read a few of the links I included.
Those links will direct you to bonafide scientific studies on the effectiveness of garlic.
The truth is, there’s also incomplete evidence for many of the other health claims surrounding garlic
For instance, garlic has been said to work for:
- Ear pain
- Help with sleep
- Fight age spots and warts
- For arthritis
- To increase virility
- To work against pertussis
- To alleviate muscle aches
And much more.
Not enough research has been to verify all these claims, but you can be sure there’s an element to truth to all of these.
Ultimately, unless you have a food allergy to garlic (check my article on FODMAPs here), then I would say to get as much of it in your diet as you can.
Who cares if you smell bad, at least you’ll live a better life, right?