In our increasingly health-conscious society, more and more people are looking for ways to add to their overall well-being. Unfortunately, many of the drugs we have been using in an attempt to aid our health are turning out to have unwanted and often serious side-effects. Fearing the potential repercussions of relying too heavily on pharmaceuticals, many people are turning to more natural ways to improve their health, particularly with improvements to their diets.
One of the best foods to add to your diet for a dramatic improvement in your health may be garlic. Revered for both its wonderful flavor and purported medicinal qualities for more than four thousand years, garlic has been the focus increased interest in the last few years as a great supplement for a healthier diet. While not enough clinical trials have been performed to provide conclusive evidence of the health benefits of garlic yet, many less formal studies done over the last few decades seem to indicate a great deal of promise in the delectable bulb's health-bolstering potential.
One area where garlic benefits the body a great deal appears to be heart health. Garlic may help to improve LDL/HDL cholesterol ratios, reduce blood pressure, and help the body avoid a number of serious heart diseases.
Garlic also appears to be somewhat effective at fighting illnesses like the common cold. Garlic is a natural antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agent, and these properties seem to boost the body's immune system. People who take a garlic supplement from November to February catch colds less frequently than those who take a placebo. Those who do catch colds while taking garlic also tend to suffer from symptoms for a shorter duration than those who are not.
Garlic contains high levels of Vitamin C, a well-known immunity booster and antioxidant. It also contains something called Allicin, the compound that gives garlic its distinctive odor and flavor. While Allicin seems to have little direct antioxidant capability, it breaks down within the body to create Sulfenic Acid, which is a powerful antioxidant. Both Vitamin C and Sulfenic Acid react with "free radicals" inside the body, neutralizing them. Free radicals cause oxidative damage to cells and are believed to be one of the leading causes of many modern diseases. While our ancestors often died from infections and injuries that we can now treat easily and effectively, we are suffering from degenerative diseases caused by long-term free radical damage, like many kinds of cancer.