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A recent report by Natural News praises the health and skin benefits of compounds found in garlic. In addition to the antifungal, antiaging and skin smoothing benefits of garlic, the study also found the fragrant food to increase antioxidant levels and possibly lower blood pressure and glucose levels.
According to the report, allicin, garlic's most potent compound, provides the largest range of garlic's health benefits, including antibiotic and antifungal properties. The compound does not occur in garlic cloves, but is produced when garlic is finely chopped or crushed. The finer the chopping and the more intense the crushing, the more allicin is produced and the stronger is the medicinal effect. The compound has been used in the past to treating skin infections such as athlete's foot. Too much exposure to garlic can result in blistered skin. Allicin starts to degrade immediately after it is produced, so a person seeking to reap its full medicinal benefits should use it immediately after crushing it. Cooking increases the degradation of allicin, and microwaving completely destroys allicin and eliminates any health benefits. To gain the optimal in medicinal effects, garlic should be crushed and added to food immediately before serving.
The high sulfur content in garlic makes it able to tone up the skin and make hair more lustrous. Garlic helps make skin smooth and supple, and strengthens nails. The sulfur in garlic works with B complex vitamins to support body metabolism, helping to keep people looking trim. It helps keep youthful elasticity in tissues, and helps treat and prevent dandruff.
Garlic is a large source of the mineral selenium, which is said to fight cancer. Selenium works with vitamin E to boost antioxidant power and prevent or slow signs of aging and hardening of tissues through oxidation. Selenium is critical for the production of glutathione peroxidase, the body's primary antioxidant that is found in every cell. Males are especially sensitive to selenium levels. Almost half their body's supply concentrates in the testicles and portions of the seminal ducts adjacent to the prostate gland.
The report cites research by scientists at the University of Kuwait who reported Allium sativa (garlic) extract to decrease serum glucose and blood pressure while increasing antioxidants. These scientists were investigating whether garlic could reduce free radical damage, and their study was reported in Evidenced Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. They measured total serum antioxidants in diabetic and hypertensive rats before and after treatment with garlic. An analogue of vitamin E, glutathione, and vitamin C were measured, and measurement was verified with reliability and reproducibility coefficients.