Garlic! The bulb has a long history of use as a medicinal plant, with roots tracing all the way back to ancient China and Egypt. Crushed garlic spread on bread with honey. Freshly crushed garlic in a glass of hot water with ginger, lemon and honey for a refreshing tea. Chopped raw garlic in your smoothie. These are three easy ways to inject more fresh garlic (an allium vegetable) into your diet and there’s a great reason behind noshing more of the smelly stuff. (Before you turn your nose up at the idea, chewing fresh parsley or a breath freshener designed for the job directly afterwards will deactivate the smell.)
You’ll be glad you did because according to the National Cancer Institute, several studies have revealed a link between an increased intake of garlic and reduced risk of certain cancers. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month – a perfect opportunity to develop a taste for garlic.
Breastcancer.org says garlic contains many sulfides, one of which is alliin. When garlic bulbs are crushed, alliin is converted to another compound, allicin. Allicin seems to be one of the main active compounds in garlic and gives the root both its odor and its health benefits. Garlic also is an antioxidant and enhances DNA repair. The more of the raw potent bulb you consume, researchers say, the lower your risk of stomach and colorectal cancer and other cancers of the digestive tract, the pancreas and yes – the breasts!
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines is a daily dose of 2g to 5g of fresh, crushed garlic (roughly one clove). The best way to maximise garlic’s benefits is to simply eat it crushed raw, as, like most vegetables, the cooking process will decrease nutrients and antioxidants. And here’s another thought to chew on: A study of more than 91,000 women found that following a diet comprising mainly plants could cut the risk of developing breast cancer by 15 percent.