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A clove of garlic a day keeps ailments at bay

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th May 2011 03:00 AM

THOUGH always shunned for its strong smell that leaves a bad breath, garlic is the oldest known medicinal plant/spice with innumerable health benefits.
What makes garlic a healthy herb is its vital chemical compound, allicin, which is known to have wonderful anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fun

THOUGH always shunned for its strong smell that leaves a bad breath, garlic is the oldest known medicinal plant/spice with innumerable health benefits.
What makes garlic a healthy herb is its vital chemical compound, allicin, which is known to have wonderful anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fun

By Agnes Kyotalengerire
THOUGH always shunned for its strong smell that leaves a bad breath, garlic is the oldest known medicinal plant/spice with innumerable health benefits.
What makes garlic a healthy herb is its vital chemical compound, allicin, which is known to have wonderful anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant properties.

The allicin compound contains sulphur, which gives the garlic its pungent smell.
Tamara Nyombi, a nutritionist in Kampala, says garlic provides minerals such as selenium and manganese.

Others are Vitamin C which provides protection from free radical damages, Vitamin B 6 which strengthens the nervous system and Vitamin B3 which lowers cholesterol.

Besides, garlic is rich in calcium which promotes healthy strong bones. Garlic’s potassium content improves the functioning of the nerves and muscles, and lowers the risk of high blood pressure.

Geoffrey Babughirana, a nutritionist working with health ministry, says garlic guards against a cold and allergies. It also regulates blood sugar levels by increasing the release of insulin, as well as keep diseases at bay, including athlete’s foot.

According to Babughirana, regular consumption of garlic helps prevent atherosclerosis (thickening of the artery walls), which may lead to stroke.

The oil extracted from garlic aids diabetic patients from succumbing to kidney failure, nervous system breakdown, heart disorders and poor eyesight.

Garlic oil can be made at home by squeezing the juice of garlic cloves and adding it to olive oil. The mixture should be kept at room temperature for a few days.

Garlic oil can be placed on wounds or scars as herbal treatment. However, it should be mixed with some drops of water rather and not be used in raw form because direct juice can irritate the skin, Babughirana adds.

Moses Ssenoga, a naturopathic doctor (specialist in natural medicine) working with Mukago Sanitarium, Kampala, says asthma attacks can be controlled by taking a glassful of milk mixed with boiled crushed cloves of garlic before going to sleep.

Ssenoga adds that garlic has aphrodisiac properties that boost sex and enhance libido. He encourages people who over-indulge in sexual activities to take garlic in their diet or as a supplement to protect themselves from nervous fatigue.

What are the side effects of garlic?
According to Babughirana, garlic does not cause any side effects. However, people who are allergic to it or those who consume it in large quantities may suffer from stomach irritation, heartburn, or flatulence (excessive stomach or intestinal gas).

Babughirana says garlic is safe for pregnant and breast-feeding mothers. In fact, studies have shown that babies prefer breast milk from mothers who regularly eat garlic.

How to use garlic
To get the most out of garlic, Nyombi recommends that one takes it raw.
Finely chop or crush the garlic and add it to food, shortly before serving.

Cooking and microwaving garlic degrades the allicin and reduces its potential benefits.
Alternatively, you can take dried or powdered garlic tablets to boost your immunity.

A clove of garlic a day keeps ailments at bay

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