Proven Benefits of Garlic 0

Garlic (Allium sativum), is used widely as a flavouring in cooking, but it has also been used as a medicine throughout ancient and modern history; it has been taken to prevent and treat a wide range of conditions and diseases.

Garlic belongs to the genus Allium and is closely related to the onion, rakkyo (an onion found in Asia), scallion, chive, leek, and shallot. It has been used by humans for thousands of years and was used in Ancient Egypt for both culinary purposes and its health and therapeutic benefits.

This article will look at the potential health benefits of garlic and cover any research that supports the claims.

Fast facts on garlic

  • In many countries, garlic has been used medicinally for centuries.
  • Garlic may have a range of health benefits, both raw and cooked.
  • It may have significant antibiotic properties.

History

Bulbs and bowl of garlic
There are many medicinal claims about garlic.

Garlic has been used all over the world for thousands of years. Records indicate that garlic was in use when the Giza pyramids were built, about 5,000 years ago.

Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460-370 BC), known today as “the father of Western medicine,” prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses. Hippocrates promoted the use of garlic for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion, and fatigue.

The original Olympic athletes in Ancient Greece were given garlic – possibly the earliest example of “performance enhancing” agents used in sports.

From Ancient Egypt, garlic spread to the advanced ancient civilizations of the Indus Valley (Pakistan and western India today). From there, it made its way to China.

Throughout history in the Middle East, East Asia, and Nepal, garlic has been used to treat bronchitis, hypertension (high blood pressure), TB (tuberculosis), liver disorders, dysentery, flatulence, colic, intestinal worms, rheumatism, diabetes, and fevers.

 

Uses

Currently, garlic is widely used for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart, including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high cholesterol, heart attack, coronary heart disease, and hypertension.

Garlic is also used today by some people for the prevention of lung cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, stomach cancer, rectal cancer, and colon cancer.

It is important to add that only some of these uses are backed by research.

A study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology warned that short-term heating reduces the anti-inflammatory effects of fresh raw garlic extracts. This may be a problem for some people who do not like or cannot tolerate the taste and/or odour of fresh garlic.

Benefits

Below are examples of some scientific studies published in peer-reviewed academic journals about the therapeutic benefits (or not) of garlic.

 

Lung cancer risk

People who ate raw garlic at least twice a week during the 7 year study period had a 44 per cent lower risk of developing lung cancer, according to a study conducted at the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China.

The researchers, who published their study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, carried out face-to-face interviews with 1,424 lung cancer patients and 4,543 healthy individuals. They were asked about their diet and lifestyle, including questions on smoking and how often they ate garlic.

The study authors wrote: “Protective association between intake of raw garlic and lung cancer has been observed with a dose-response pattern, suggesting that garlic may potentially serve as a chemopreventive agent for lung cancer.”

Brain cancer

Organo-sulfur compounds found in garlic have been identified as effective in destroying the cells in glioblastomas, a type of deadly brain tumour.

Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina reported in the journal Cancer that three pure organo-sulfur compounds from garlic – DAS, DADS, and DATS – “demonstrated efficacy in eradicating brain cancer cells, but DATS proved to be the most effective.”

Co-author, Ray Swapan, Ph.D., said “This research highlights the great promise of plant-originated compounds as a natural medicine for controlling the malignant growth of human brain tumour cells. More studies are needed in animal models of brain tumours before application of this therapeutic strategy to brain tumour patients.”

Hip Osteoarthritis

Women whose diets were rich in allium vegetables had lower levels of osteoarthritis, a team at King’s College London and the University of East Anglia, both in England, reported in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. Examples of allium vegetables include garlic, leeks, shallots, onions, and rakkyo.

The study authors said their findings not only highlighted the possible impact of diet on osteoarthritis outcomes but also demonstrated the potential for using compounds that exist in garlic to develop treatments for the condition.

The long-term study, involving more than 1,000 healthy female twins, found that those whose dietary habits included plenty of fruit and vegetables, “particularly alliums such as garlic,” had fewer signs of early osteoarthritis in the hip joint.

Potentially a powerful antibiotic

Diallyl sulfide, a compound in garlic, was 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics in fighting the Campylobacter bacterium, according to a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

The Campylobacter bacterium is one of the most common causes of intestinal infections.

Senior author, Dr Xiaonan Lu, from Washington State University, said, “This work is very exciting to me because it shows that this compound has the potential to reduce disease-causing bacteria in the environment and in our food supply.”

Heart protection

Garlic in heart-shaped bowl
Garlic may contain heart-protective chemicals.

Diallyl trisulfide, a component of garlic oil, helps protect the heart during cardiac surgery and after a heart attack, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine found. They also believe diallyl trisulfide could be used as a treatment for heart failure.

Hydrogen sulfide gas has been shown to protect the heart from damage.

However, it is a volatile compound and difficult to deliver as therapy.

Because of this, the scientists decided to focus on diallyl trisulfide, a garlic oil component, as a safer way to deliver the benefits of hydrogen sulfide to the heart.

In experiments using laboratory mice, the team found that, after a heart attack, the mice that had received diallyl sulfide had 61 per cent less heart damage in the area at risk, compared with the untreated mice.

In another study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists found that garlic oil may help protect diabetes patients from cardiomyopathy.

Cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of death among diabetes patients. It is a chronic disease of the myocardium (heart muscle), which is abnormally thickened, enlarged, and/or stiffened.

The team fed diabetic laboratory rats either garlic oil or corn oil. Those fed garlic oils experienced significantly more changes associated with protection against heart damage, compared with the animals that were fed corn oil.

The study authors wrote, “In conclusion, garlic oil possesses significant potential for protecting hearts from diabetes-induced cardiomyopathy.”

Human studies will need to be performed to confirm the results of this study.

High cholesterol and high blood pressure

Researchers at Ankara University investigated the effects of garlic extract supplementation on the blood lipid (fat) profile of patients with high blood cholesterol. Their study was published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

The study involved 23 volunteers, all with high cholesterol; 13 of them also had high blood pressure. They were divided into two groups:

  • The high-cholesterol normotensive group (normal blood pressure).
  • The high-cholesterol hypertensive group (high blood pressure).

They took garlic extract supplements for 4 months and were regularly checked for blood lipid parameters, as well as kidney and liver function.

At the end of the 4 months, the researchers concluded “…garlic extract supplementation improves blood lipid profile, strengthens blood antioxidant potential, and causes significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressures. It also leads to a decrease in the level of oxidation product (MDA) in the blood samples, which demonstrates reduced oxidation reactions in the body.”

In other words, the garlic extract supplements reduced high cholesterol levels, and also blood pressure in the patients with hypertension. The scientists added that theirs was a small study – more work needs to be carried out.

Source: Medicalnewstoday.com

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Ketogenic Diet, Benefits and Side Effects 0

“Ketogenic” is a term for a low-carb diet (like the Atkins diet). The idea is for you to get more calories from protein and fat and less from carbohydrates. You cut back most on the carbs that are easy to digest, like sugar, soda, pastries, and white bread.

How It Works

When you eat less than 50 grams of carbs a day, your body eventually runs out of fuel (blood sugar) it can use quickly. This typically takes 3 to 4 days. Then you’ll start to break down protein and fat for energy, which can make you lose weight. This is called ketosis. It’s important to note that the ketogenic diet is a short term diet that’s focussed on weight loss rather than the pursuit of health benefits.

Who Uses It?

People use a ketogenic diet most often to lose weight, but it can help manage certain medical conditions, like epilepsy, too. It also may help people with heart disease, certain brain diseases, and even acne, but there needs to be more research in those areas. Talk with your doctor first to find out if it’s safe for you to try a ketogenic diet, especially if you have type 1 diabetes.

Weight Loss

A ketogenic diet may help you lose more weight in the first 3 to 6 months than some other diets. This may be because it takes more calories to change fat into energy than it does to change carbs into energy. It’s also possible that a high-fat, high-protein diet satisfies you more, so you eat less, but that hasn’t been proved yet.

Cancer

Insulin is a hormone that lets your body use or store sugar as fuel. Ketogenic diets make you burn through this fuel quickly, so you don’t need to store it. This means your body needs — and makes — less insulin. Those lower levels may help protect you against some kinds of cancer or even slow the growth of cancer cells. More research is needed on this, though.

Heart Disease

It seems strange that a diet that calls for more fat can raise “good” cholesterol and lower “bad” cholesterol, but ketogenic diets are linked to just that. It may be because the lower levels of insulin that result from these diets can stop your body from making more cholesterol. That means you’re less likely to have high blood pressure, hardened arteries, heart failure, and other heart conditions. It’s unclear, however; how long these effects last.

Acne

Carbohydrates have been linked to this skin condition, so cutting down on them may help. And the drop in insulin that a ketogenic diet can trigger may also help stop acne breakouts. (Insulin can cause your body to make other hormones that bring on outbreaks.) Still, more research is needed to determine exactly how much effect, if any, the diet actually has on acne.

Diabetes

Low-carb diets seem to help keep your blood sugar lower and more predictable than other diets. But when your body burns fat for energy, it makes compounds called ketones. If you have diabetes, particularly type 1, too many ketones in your blood can make you sick. So it’s very important to work with your doctor on any changes in your diet.

Epilepsy

Ketogenic diets have helped control seizures caused by this condition since the 1920s. But again, it’s important to work with your doctor to figure out what’s right for you or your child.

Other Nervous System Disorders

These affect your brain and spine, as well as the nerves that link them together. Epilepsy is one, but others may be helped by a ketogenic diet as well, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and sleep disorders. Scientists aren’t sure why, but it may be that the ketones your body makes when it breaks down fat for energy help protect your brain cells from damage.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

This is when a woman’s ovaries get larger than they should be and small fluid-filled sacs form around the eggs. High levels of insulin can cause it. Ketogenic diets, which lower both the amount of insulin you make and the amount you need, may help treat it, along with other lifestyle changes, like exercise and weight loss.

Exercise

A ketogenic diet may help endurance athletes — runners and cyclists, for example — when they train. Over time, it helps your muscle-to-fat ratio and raises the amount of oxygen your body is able to use when it’s working hard. But while it might help in training, it may not work as well as other diets for peak performance.

Side Effects

The more common ones aren’t usually serious: You might have constipation, mild low blood sugar, or indigestion. Much less often, low-carb diets can lead to kidney stones or high levels of acid in your body (acidosis). Other side effects can include the “keto flu,” which may include headache, weakness, and irritability; bad breath; and fatugue.

Diet With Care

When your body burns its stores of fat, it can be hard on your kidneys. And starting a ketogenic diet — or going back to a normal diet afterward — can be tricky if you’re obese because of other health issues you’re likely to have, like diabetes, a heart condition, or high blood pressure. If you have any of these conditions, make diet changes slowly and only with the guidance of your doctor.

 

6 Health Benefits of Atadwe (Tiger Nuts) 0

Tiger nuts, also known as chufa, yellow nutsedge or earth almonds, are not actually nuts, but rather edible tubers.

Tiger nuts were one of the first plants cultivated in Egypt and traditionally used as both food and medicine.

They’re rich in a variety of nutrients and have been linked to several health benefits — ranging from better digestion to a reduced risk of heart disease.

Here are 6 emerging health benefits of tiger nuts.

Tiger Nuts

1. Rich in Nutrients

Tiger nuts contain a variety of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds.

Their specific nutrient content depends on the type. There are three main varieties of tiger nuts: black, brown and yellow.

On average, one ounce (28 grams) provides (1):

  • Calories: 103–121
  • Fiber: 2–7 grams
  • Carbs: 9 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 7–9 grams
  • Vitamin E: 278% of the daily value (DV)
  • Iron: 13–40% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 9–11% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 2–8% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 7% of the DV
  • Zinc: 5–7% of the DV
  • Potassium: 3–5% of the DV
  • Calcium: 1% of the DV

Tiger nuts are also a rich source of antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that protect your body against aging and diseases like cancer and heart disease (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source).

Research shows that germinating tiger nuts prior to eating them increases their antioxidant content (4Trusted Source).

That said, tiger nuts also contain antinutrients, such as phytates, oxalates, saponins and tannins, which can reduce nutrient absorption in your gut.

Germinating or roasting the tubers prior to eating reduces their antinutrient levels, making it easier for your body to absorb and use the many nutrients they contain (5).

2. May Improve Digestion

Tiger nuts may promote a healthy digestion in various ways.

For starters, they are high in insoluble fiber, which passes through your gut without being digested. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stools and helps food move through your gut easily, reducing the likelihood of constipation (16Trusted Source).

Tiger nuts are also presumed to contain resistant starch, a type of fiber that can feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, helping your digestion run smoothly (7).

Moreover, tiger nuts may contain enzymes, such as catalases, lipases and amylases, which help break down foods in your gut, relieving gas, indigestion and diarrhea (7).

Keep in mind that the high fiber content of tiger nuts may initially cause unpleasant gas or bloating. Those interested in trying them should increase their portions gradually.

3. May Reduce Blood Sugar Levels

Tiger nuts may help keep your blood sugar levels in check.

Animal studies show that tiger nut extract may help reduce blood sugar levels. This may, in large part, be due to the high fiber content of the tubers which may slow down the absorption of sugar in the gut (5).

Tiger nuts are also rich in the amino acid arginine, which may increase insulin production and sensitivity, both of which are important for blood sugar control (8Trusted Source9Trusted Source10Trusted Source).

Moreover, test-tube studies show that tiger nut extract may inhibit the action of carb-digesting enzymes in your gut.

As a result, less sugar may be absorbed from your gut in a way similar to the action of some blood-sugar-lowering diabetic medications. This is thought to potentially lower blood sugar levels, though more research in humans is needed (11Trusted Source).

4. May Improve Heart Health

Tiger nuts may also be good for the health of your heart.

That’s partly because of the high amount of monounsaturated fats they contain, which give them a fat profile similar to that of heart-healthy olive oil (1213Trusted Source14Trusted Source).

Diets rich in monounsaturated fats are linked to lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. They are also associated with a lower risk of heart attack, stroke and death from heart disease (15Trusted Source16Trusted Source).

What’s more, tiger nuts are rich in the amino acid arginine. Arginine can promote heart health because your body can use it to make nitric oxide, a compound that helps arteries and veins dilate, hence lowering blood pressure (17Trusted Source18Trusted Source).

Research also links tiger nuts to better blood circulation and a lower likelihood of blood clots — both of which can reduce your risk of heart disease (7).

5. May Boost Your Immune System and Help Fight Infections

Tiger nuts may contribute to a stronger immune system.

In one test-tube study, tiger nut extracts were tested against several types of bacteria that can infect humans. The extract was effective against E. coliStaphylococcus and Salmonella bacteria (19Trusted Source).

Another cell study found similar results. The researchers added that tiger nut extracts might also be effective at fighting antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections (20Trusted Source).

However, more studies are needed before strong conclusions can be drawn.

6. May Act as an Aphrodisiac

Tiger nuts have a history of being used to boost libido.

They’re used as aphrodisiacs in Ayurvedic medicine. In addition, men in Nigeria have used tiger nuts for generations to treat erectile dysfunction, increase sperm count and boost libido.

That said, few studies have investigated these supposed aphrodisiac properties.

One mouse study showed that tiger nuts helped preserve testicular weight and sperm production following heavy metal poisoning (21).

In a rat study, eating large amounts of tiger nuts for 30 days increased testosterone levels, boosted sexual activity and reduced intermission time between mating sessions (22Trusted Source).

However, there are no studies on using tiger nuts as an aphrodisiac in humans, so more research is needed before any conclusions can be made.

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