Garlic for Cancer Prevention and Better Cardiovascular Health

Beneficial qualities of garlic has been known to humans for millennia. Roman, and Egyptians were using garlic during wartime for protection and for healing of wounds sustained during war. The uses of garlic is numerous and also benefits (including health benefits) of garlic are many. There are many health benefits of garlic. Some important benefits areID-10048137

Garlic can prevent various types of cancers:

Several studies have shown that garlic can prevent cancer, because it has anti-cancer properties. This has been proved by research on allium vegetables, including garlic. Consumption of garlic (high amount daily) regularly (daily) has been shown to reduce incidence of almost all types of cancers, except breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. But, it is seen that only colorectal cancer and kidney/renal cancers are prevented by irregular or moderate consumption of garlic (not daily consumption). So, it is important for all of use to consume garlic daily, to get the cancer prevention benefit of garlic, along with many other health benefits. Garlic is one of the most important among anti-cancer foods.

Many health benefits of garlic may most likely be due to presence of allyl sulfides found in garlic. These allyl sulfide compounds prevent cell damage by oxidative stress (similar to antioxidants) and prevent cancer and cell damage.

Cardiovascular health benefits of garlic:

Garlic and other allium vegetables have good cardio-protective properties. Most of the research about health benefits of garlic are mainly done using garlic powder, aged garlic extract or garlic oil and very few has been done using garlic as food item. Still, garlic is good food with numerous health benefits, including cardiovascular benefits and cancer prevention benefits, as seen in many studies related to various foods.

Garlic can reduce total cholesterol and triglyceride, although moderate (5% to 15%) reduction is usually seen. But the reduction is definite. Sulfide compounds (such as hydrogen sulfide or H2S) found in garlic produce the beneficial effects on blood vessel walls as well as in the red cells. The cardio-protective benefit of garlic also comes from the anti-inflammatory benefits of garlic. Inflammation in the blood vessel wall is an important mediator of initiation of atherosclerotic changes in the blood vessel walls in heart, which ultimately is responsible for angina, and heart attacks (myocardial infarction).

Due to inflammation in blood vessel wall, anti-inflammatory cells (normal defense mechanism of body) are attracted to the site of inflammation, due to presence of mediators of inflammation. Due to inflammation, minute quantity of cholesterol may get deposited at the site of inflammation (which is usually a microscopic injury to blood vessel wall) and start a microscopic plaque of cholesterol (the beginning of thrombosis). Then gradually cholesterol get deposited at the site of atherosclerosis and gradually it becomes larger and finally may lead to angina or heart attack.

Garlic by anti-inflammatory property, can prevent initial inflammation (and hence, prevent atherosclerosis and plaque formation) as well as by reducing blood level of cholesterol and triglyceride (the two most important factors in heart attack and other cardiovascular problems), prevent cardiovascular problems.

Image courtesy of [Mister GC] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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