Vicki Martin, Nutritionist and Naturopath
Naturopath Vicki Martin answers some common questions about garlic and its benefits
Garlic is a natural source of many nutrients, including trace elements like Selenium and Germanium: antioxidant minerals essential for a healthy immune system. Garlic also contains high levels of natural Sulfur compounds. This compounds help to cleanse the body, and help to fight fungal and bacterial infections.
Another benefit of Garlic is in helping to combat fungal skin conditions like ‘athlete’s foot’ (tinea), and ‘thrush’ (vaginal candida). It’s also especially useful to help clear boils and skin ulcers.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Garlic is a “heating” or “warming” herb. On top of its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, this makes Garlic ideal for chilly, damp lung conditions like colds and sniffles. It’s particularly good with symptoms that involve a lot of clear mucous, chestiness, ‘wet’ coughs, chills, sneezing, and hayfever.
Many studies have shown Garlic’s usefulness in managing blood fat levels, especially in reducing harmful fats, triglycerides and cholesterol. There are two types of cholesterol: Low Density Lipoproteins (LDLs, or “bad cholesterol), and High Density Lipoproteins (HDLs, or “good cholesterol”) Garlic seems to help maintain a healthy cholesterol balance by helping to lower bad cholesterol, while raising good cholesterol.
Beyond this, Garlic contains antioxidant compounds that help to stop bad cholesterol molecules from oxidising. This helps to keep them from sticking to artery walls. And Garlic also make blood less likely to clot, which can help to further maintain heart and brain health.
If you are using Garlic preventatively, start at the beginning of autumn and take it all through winter. Because Garlic is a herb, it can help to dispel cold, damp conditions that can weaken your immune system. You can also take Garlic if you get a cold or chill, especially if you’re producing a lot of clear mucous.
Cooking Garlic breaks down the essential factors that give garlic its antioxidant benefits. And you’d need to eat several cloves of raw Garlic daily to approximate the content of one garlic capsule or tablet. Most people find that that much Garlic can cause digestive upset and halitosis (bad breath). For these reasons, most people find it more convenient to simply take a Garlic supplement.
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