Yes, Garlic is Paleo!
The True Superfood…
Allium Sativum or garlic is a species in the onion genus Allium and is cousins with leeks, onions and chives. It is widely used around the world for its distinctive, pungent, spicy flavor as a seasoning. The bulb of garlic is the most common used part of this plant and it is divided into cloves.
Garlic is used for cooking in raw, cooked or powdered form. It is also highly prized for its medicinal use. Garlic is native to Central Asia and has been a fundamental component in many dishes because it adds a wonderful taste and aroma. It is commonly used in sautéing together with onion, tomato and ginger.
Considered as a superfood, garlic has been linked to lowered blood pressure, cholesterol and cancer prevention. Traditionally, garlic has been used as disinfectant, antibacterial and antifungal medicine.
Incorporating garlic into your meals can provide nutrients that can be helpful in obtaining a healthy body. As a nutrient-dense food, garlic is extremely rich in vitamins B and C. It has significant amounts of manganese, phosphorus, selenium and calcium. Organosulfur compounds are also present in garlic which have been found to have many health benefits including fighting against cancer.
Garlic is indeed a nutritious food and has very low calorie content.
Health Benefits of Garlic
Not only that garlic provides taste and aroma to food and nutrition, it also presents amazing health benefits!
Garlic contains diallyl sulphides that can increase the production of ferroportin, a protein that forms a passageway allowing stored iron to leave cells and become available. This way, iron can be kept in circulation as needed.
Garlic supplementation has been found to have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels. This can lower the risk of certain heart diseases such as stroke and heart attack. Garlic can protect the blood vessels from inflammation and oxidative stress that can result to cardiovascular problems.
Boost Immune System
Another benefit of garlic supplementation is that it can combat flu, common colds and boost immune system function.
The sulfur-containing compounds diallyl sulphide and thiacremonone found in garlic have anti-inflammatory properties that can fight against conditions such as arthritis.
Antibacterial and Antiviral Properties
Most allium vegetables including garlic have antibacterial and antiviral properties that can control infections caused by bacteria, viruses and microbes. The ajoene disulfide in garlic is particular in preventing yeast infections.
Based on studies, consumption of garlic is associated with lower risk of certain cancers due to its anti-cancer properties. The allyl sulfides in garlic that are responsible for its pungent smell and taste are the ones that play a role in cancer prevention. It inhibits growth of cancer cells.
Heterocyclic amines are substances formed when meat is cooked in high temperatures. The sulfur compounds in garlic have shown to inhibit formation carcinogens in this process.
The antioxidants in garlic support the body against oxidative damage brought by free radicals that can contribute to aging process. High supplementation of garlic can increase antioxidant enzymes that can prevent common brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The sulfur compounds found in garlic can protect against organ damage and other symptoms caused by heavy metal toxicity.
Garlic is high in carbohydrates that can be difficult for some people to digest. These are called FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols). It can cause bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea.
While garlic is not banned in the Paleo diet, this can be problematic to some people. The allicin which is a fat soluble in garlic is the one causing this problem. Usually, people don’t tend to get the side effects unless they consume it in high amounts. But to be sure, the allicin in garlic can actually be removed by crushing the garlic clove, frying it and throwing away the garlic itself. The oil can therefore be used in any recipes.
What Experts Say About Garlic?
Garlic-derived organosulfur compounds have shown promise as anti-cancer operatives in in vitro studies. – Mark Sisson
All you ever wanted to know about Garlic and Paleo
Mark’s Daily Apple. Why You Should Eat Sulfur-Rich Vegetables
Paleo Leap. All About Garlic
Paleo Porn. Is Garlic Paleo?
Authority Nutrition. 11 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic
The World’s Healthiest Foods. What’s New and Beneficial About Garlic
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photo credit: YIM Hafiz Garlic 2