There’s an old Yiddish saying, “A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.” How true that is. Garlic, that sweet, succulent spice–also known as Allium sativum–just melts in your mouth and makes every dish delicious. Yes, in some people it can cause malodor; but the benefits of eating garlic far outweigh its pungent effects.

This miracle herb has been the subject of folklore and legend, and it’s home remedy uses are very well known. But new research shows exactly why garlic is so beneficial–it boosts the body’s production of a compound that relaxes blood vessels, increases blood flow, and prevents blood clots and oxidative damage. The compound, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), is produced by blood vessels and red blood cells when they come into contact with the chemical constituents of garlic. The exact compound causing the release of H2S is as of yet unknown.

The fact that we do not yet know which chemical component causes this incredible health benefit illustrates a very important point–one which I very adamantly stress in my upcoming book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health–and that is: It’s always better to eat whole, natural foods than rely on man’s synthetic versions. And the reason I give is precisely because we don’t always know which constituents do what. Moreover, we don’t know if compounds must work in conjunction with one another or if several work within the same biochemical pathway. Therefore, you gotta eat the real deal.

Saying that, we do know the effects of some of garlic’s constituents. For example, Allicin, which gives garlic its hot, burning flavor, has powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It also helps fight arteriosclerosis, dissolves fat, and is a mild antioxidant. Another compound, Beta-sitosterol, lowers blood cholesterol and may be useful in fighting benign prostatic hypertrophy (BNP). Garlic also contains calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, and zinc. And to top it off, garlic is rich in vitamins B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), and Vitamin C.

Wow! Now tha-sa powerful.

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