Garlic To Your Rescue!
This heart protective antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer superfood is not to be missed, especially if you’re shifting to a healthier diet and want to negate the effects of cancer causing foods.
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Legend suggests that garlic may ward off evil spirits, such as vampires and ghosts. For me, it is the elixir of taste. I crush it in my morning poha tadka, chop and stir fry it with my broccoli and mince it to add flavour to my mashed potatoes along with some extra virgin olive oil (another amazing anti-inflammatory anti cancer and heart protective oil!). Yum.
Now scientists are supporting my taste buds and your health. There are many large population based researches that have proven to ward off carcinogens produced by meat cooked at high temperatures. I was never a meat lover (I’m a vegetarian with occasional eggs), but for those of you who are, here’s your saviour!
Cooking protein-rich foods like meats and eggs at high temperatures releases a chemical called PhIP, a suspected carcinogen. Epidemiological studies have shown that the incidence of breast cancer is higher among women who eat large quantities of meat, although fat and caloric intake and hormone exposure may contribute to this increased risk.
Diallyl sulfide (DAS), a flavor component of garlic, has been shown to inhibit the effects of PhIP that, when biologically active, can cause DNA damage or transform substances in the body into carcinogens. PhIP enhances the metabolism of the enzymes linked to carcinogenesis. They further suggested that the diallyl sulfide derived from garlic can counter this activity.
The research team treated human breast epithelial cells with equal amounts of PhIP and DAS separately, and the two together, for periods ranging from three to 24 hours. PhIP induced expression of the cancer-causing enzyme at every stage, up to 40-fold, while DAS completely inhibited the PhIP enzyme from becoming carcinogenic. The finding demonstrates for the first time that DAS, present in garlic, triggers a gene alteration in PhIP, present in meats, and plays a significant role in preventing cancer, notably breast cancer, induced by PhIP in well-done meats.
This does not mean that you can gorge on cancer-causing meats, one third of people in the UK have given up eating meat. But if you still insist on consuming a cancer-rich diet of processed meats and higher quantities of non-vegetarian food, shifting to a low non vegetarian diet along with addition of lots of garlic can reduce the previous effects of higher consumption of processed meats and red meats. Hence, garlic will come to your rescue even if you’ve had a bad lifestyle and will help you get healthier faster.
There are other benefits of garlic too, which is why it comes in the category of super foods globally. Countries that use a lot of garlic in their diets have a naturally low incidence of heart disease, like Japan, Thailand and China (traditional diet, not the processed foods and gluten rich diet of the West). Garlic reduces the amount of bad cholesterol and blood fats or lipids, while increasing the good cholesterol, hence protecting the heart. It lowers blood pressure and prevents arteries from getting deposits since it reduces lipids in blood, hence preventing and dissolving high triglycerides, cholesterol and preventing arteries from hardening and avoiding Atherosclerosis. Garlic is a natural antibiotic and fights colds, viruses, treats malaria effectively as well as urinary tract infection in our body. It strengthens our immune system, improves our circulation and cleanses the liver. Raw garlic every morning has shown to have cardio-protective qualities. And of course, if you have any pain related issues like arthritis, back pain, just chew on some garlic to get rid of pain. So peel, chop and add to your vegetables, soups, the occasional non vegetarian dishes and enjoy the flavour of garlic in abundance.