GARLIC and CANCER
If you are deciding whether or not to pass the garlic tonight at dinner, this may help you decide to add it more regularly to your diet.
Used since ancient times for both culinary and medicinal purposes, garlic is a relative of the onion and the leek. It has four edible components: the root bulb, leaves, stems and flowers. Cloves, the most commonly used part of the plant, are separated once the bulb is split and stripped of its papery covering. This skin is the only inedible part of the plant. The cloves can be made into oil or used whole, diced or crushed.
Garlic is a familiar food in most kitchens and is a key ingredient in many recipes. Yet the plant’s benefits are much more far reaching than just adding flavor to your dish.
While stomach and prostate cancer are most receptive to the effects of garlic, all forms of cancer may display positive results from garlic consumption.
Garlic has been consumed for thousands of years all over the world for its potential health benefits. Studies have proven garlic to be medicinally positive for individuals with cancer, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
When the bulb is cut, allicin, a chemical with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, is released. In a study where mice with cancer were injected with allicin, those not injected with the compound lived an average of two months while those given the injection survived an average of six months or longer.
While observational studies on garlic consumption are more frequent than clinical studies, 28 of 37 observational studies have concluded that moderate garlic consumption is beneficial to overall health; they also show strong evidence that garlic can help prevent cancer.
Garlic contains several phytochemicals (chemical compounds naturally appearing in plants) that contain sulfur; these phytochemicals include beta-caroten, caffeic acid, allyl sulfur and diallyl disulfide. Allyl sulfur, a compound also found in onions, is primarily responsible for garlic’s cancer-fighting properties, making cells more vulnerable once divided. Cancer cells divide at such a rapid rate that they are extremely susceptible to harmful stressors; allyl sulfur helps prevent tumors from forming while leaving healthy cells basically unaffected.
Diallyl disulfide (DADS) is produced during the breakdown of allicin and has a similar cancer-inhibiting quality, although the chemical reaction that produces DADS begins when raw garlic is peeled or injured. According to medical professionals, the entire process takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and cooking the garlic only after the reaction has finished will stimulate its cancer-fighting potential.
Garlic also enhances the immune system by stimulating white blood cell production. In patients who have surpassed the four to eight month life expectancy for late stage cancer or even gone into full remission of the cancer, the majority had engaged in a form of immune improving therapy or clinical immunology trials. This has led researchers to believe that a strong immune system is critical in defeating cancer.
As with any supplementation or dietary change, cancer patients should consult with their physician before making any nutritional modifications to their diet.
For cancer cooking classes in the San Diego area, please email [email protected] for the schedule.