In the latest issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a few hundred men from China with and without prostate cancer were interviewed. They were asked how frequently they ate 122 different food items.
It was found that those men who ate more than 1/3 of an ounce (about 9 grams) a day of allium food were about 50% less likely to develop prostate cancer compared to those individuals who ate less of this type of food. Garlic is considered in the allium food group along with scallions, chives, leeks and onions. The researchers found that the reduced risk of prostate cancer in those individuals who ate the allium type foods was not related to body size, intake of other foods or caloric intake.
There have been other studies in the medical literature touting the benefits of garlic and similar type food, not only for their immune enhancing function when it comes to cancer but also for fighting infections, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels and other positive benefits. For example, in a study published in the journal Circulation, 30 patients with coronary artery disease were administered garlic while another 30 patients were given placebo.
Those individuals in the garlic group reduced significantly total serum cholesterol and triglycerides and increased the good HDL cholesterol and fibrinolytic activity. In an in vitro study, garlic oil was noted to improve the elasticity of blood vessels, therefore reducing risk of potential heart attack and stroke. There have even been animal studies showing that life span and learning is improved with use of aged garlic extract.
I am sure that not many people reading this blog would start the day with a clove of garlic…certainly, not if you are interested in being around people. Interestingly, the most consistent results proving benefits for garlic have been shown with supplemental garlic. The amount of active ingredients in raw garlic will vary greatly based on where the garlic was grown, how it was stored, cooked, etc. Supplemental garlic that is standardized appears to be superior for consistency of active ingredients and benefits. I recommend typically 400 to 1300 mg a day.
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