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9 ways garlic keeps you healthy

Not only is garlic just as popular today, but scientific research proves eating garlic does indeed provide health benefits. In fact, garlic may protect you from just about everything from the common cold to heart disease and cancer. It might even help you live longer.

 

* ATTACKS ATHEROSCLEROSIS - Imagine trying to walk through thick gooey mud. Now imagine that same mud oozing through a straw, and you get an idea of how cholesterol can damage your arteries.

As cholesterol builds up in your arteries, your heart has to work harder to pump blood through them. This leads to high blood pressure. High cholesterol and high blood pressure help trigger atherosclerosis, or thickening and hardening of the arteries - the leading cause of death in the Western world. In fact, heart attacks happen when one or more of the coronary arteries get too clogged or completely blocked.

By lowering cholesterol and your blood pressure, garlic protects your arteries from potential disaster. Garlic also slows the stiffening of arteries that happens with age. One study of healthy adults ages 50 to 80 found garlic helped keep the aorta, the body’s main artery, elastic.

* CLOBBERS CHOLESTEROL - Like a nutritional superhero, garlic goes after your bad LDL, cholesterol without harming your good HDL cholesterol. The result is less fat built up in your arteries, lower triglyceride levels, and generally healthier circulation. Just a half to one clove of garlic a day (or an equal amount in garlic powder) may be all you need to decrease your cholesterol levels.

* BRINGS DOWN BLOOD PRESSURE - With less cholesterol causing traffic jams in your arteries, your blood can zip through your body more easily. That means less stress on your heart and lower blood pressure. Some studies show garlic can actually bring down your blood pressure by several points.

* CRUSHES CLOTS - Along with garlic’s other compounds, stops your blood from clumping and clotting. This keeps your blood flowing more smoothly and reduces your risk for a heart attack or stroke.

* CRIPPLES CANCER - Garlic’s hard-working antioxidants, including its sulfur compounds, vitamin C, and falconoid, capture free radicals and keep them from damaging your body and causing cancer. Allicin and its many sulfur compounds also order more of your body’s mighty immune cells into battle. These tiny soldiers kill tumors and cancer cells.

Experts keep finding more evidence of garlic’s cancer-fighting powers. A Penn State study demonstrated that garlic and selenium prevented breast cancer in animals exposed to a strong cancer-causing substance. Other studies have linked eating garlic with lower risks of colon, prostate, skin, bladder, and lung cancer.

* BANISHES BACTERIA, VIRUSES, AND MORE - When penicillin was scarce during World War II, Russian soldiers used garlic to fight off infection. War-time studies also showed that soldiers who ate garlic had fewer cases of dysentery than those who didn’t.

That’s because of allicin, a potent antibiotic that kills a variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi, molds, yeasts, and parasites. Some of garlic’s victims include Salmonella, Staph, E. Coli, and Candida. Allicin is so powerful that it appears to conquer some infections that normally stand up to antibiotics.

* INTENSIFIES YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM - Tired of blowing your nose? Reach for garlic instead of a box of tissues. Garlic boosts your immune system, so you’re less likely to get sick with colds or flu. Once again, the sulfur compounds in garlic do the work by prodding your immune cells into action. Garlic also makes you sweat, which is one of your bodys ways to get rid of waste.

* STAMPS OUT BLOOD SUGAR - Worried about diabetes? Garlic also lowers your blood sugar. High blood sugar is a key symptom of diabetes. In fact, because garlic also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, adding some to your diet might help if you’re diabetic or at risk of developing diabetes.

* RUBS OUT RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS - If your body has low levels of antioxidants and selenium, you could be a greater risk for rheumatoid arthritis. Because garlic contains plenty of both, it can help stop this form of arthritis before it starts.

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