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Garlic & Cancer: Exploring “The Famous” Preventative Connection

posted on 7/3/2016 Facebook Facebook

Cancer diagnosis still comes as a shock to many. While the ways to treat and manage the disease has seen a great improvement in the last few years, early diagnosis and intervention still remain the key to keep cancer away. Healthy lifestyle interventions such as exercise, good eating habits, and stress reduction are all known to fend off cancer. 

Our modern diets have become contaminated with processed foods which are loaded with unhealthy fats, preservatives, and artificial additives. Many of these food additives are known carcinogens which increase the risk of cancer. Hence, one of the most important factors advocated by medical experts and nutritionists to reduce the risk of cancer is eating a whole, nutrient-dense diet rich with cancer-fighting foods. 

Prevent Cancer Naturally With Food
Mother Nature has provided us with an abundant supply of healthy foods which can both prevent and fight against cancer. Packed with essential antioxidants and phytochemicals, several foods and herbs are known to possess cancer fighting properties. One such ingredient known to exhibit strong anticancer activity is garlic. 

Kick Out That Cancer With Garlic 
One of the oldest cultivated plants in the world, the medicinal properties of garlic has been explored and harnessed since centuries. Most celebrated for its heart-healthy benefits, garlic is also rewarded with antibiotic, pain-relieving and cholesterol lowering properties. 

Recent times have seen this herb in the limelight for its effectiveness in the fight against cancer. The chemopreventive activity of garlic has been demonstrated through several studies using different garlic preparations including fresh garlic extract, aged garlic, garlic oil and a number of organosulfur compounds derived from garlic.

While the mechanism through which the organosulfur compounds present in garlic exhibit their anticancer properties is not fully understood, various modes of action have been proposed. S-allylcysteine and S-allylmercapto-L-cysteine, the two major compounds present in aged garlic have a high antioxidant activity. These and other compounds derived from garlic can collectively retard the growth and proliferation of cancerous tissues. 

The American Institute for Cancer Research has funded several studies to identify the specific compounds present in garlic and their cancer-fighting properties. Allicin, alliin, and allyl sulfides have shown the ability to slow or stop the growth of tumors in prostate, bladder, colon and stomach tissue, in laboratory studies. Another component, diallyl disulfide present in garlic has been found to exert potent preventive effects against cancers of the skin, colon, breast and lung. Population-based clinical trials have also been able to highlight the effectiveness of garlic and its extracts in conferring protection against several types of cancers.

However, the health benefits of garlic are not just limited to cancer prevention. Here are three more proven benefits you will gain by making this root a staple in your meals:

1. Protects Your Heart: Allicin present in garlic reduces the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) in the blood which protects against atherosclerosis. Garlic also helps regulate blood pressure and keeps heart troubles away. 

2. Strengthens Bones: The diallyl sulfides present in garlic have anti-inflammatory properties and are known to protect against bone diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis.

3. Keeps Cold & Flu Away: From a medical history standpoint, the antibacterial and antiviral properties of garlic are perhaps its most legendary feature. Garlic strengthens the immune system from within which helps fight infections and keep diseases at bay. 

References:
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