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Garlic Packs a Punch for Immune Health

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Garlic I love garlic. And my enthusiasm for garlic continues to grow as I learn more about its health benefits.  It’s become my go-to for immune support and there’s not a single remedy I could endorse more.

I had read studies regarding garlic and its immune building benefits, but I wasn’t exactly running out to consume it by the pound, as you can imagine. I was, at first, skeptical about the extent to which the garlic clove and its constituents could amp up my defenses. After all, garlic is the epitome of a culinary staple; the universal ingredient that transcends cultures and their cuisines. I had used this bulb in my signature dishes several times, and while I love the flavor it can add to my cooking, I didn’t exactly relish in the idea of taking it by the capsule (apply pinch to nose). Nonetheless, when cold season hit, I found myself in a compromising situation.

With a sore throat, aches and pains, and eyes I could scratch out, I was desperate. I would have tried anything to ward off my oncoming cold, and so I did. At the encouragement of my co-worker, Lissa (our resident herbalist), I took a few capsules (three throughout the day to be exact). The next morning, all symptoms were gone. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I thought it might be a coincidence, or that perhaps the symptoms were just in my head. So I tried it again the next time I felt a cold coming on, and you’ll be surprised (or maybe not) to learn that, once again, I woke up feeling great.

The health benefits of garlic are many. In addition to having powerful antioxidant properties, this member of the Allium genus is known for increasing circulation, helping to balance cholesterol levels and providing support for overall heart health. The immune benefits of garlic may get less hype, but are not to be underestimated.

Garlic contains allicin, an organic sulfur compound that has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. Allicin is responsible for garlic’s pungent odor and serves as the plants natural defense mechanism from pests and other botanical threats. In fact, many people don’t hesitate to give garlic to their pets to ward off fleas.

Garlic’s ability to fight foreign organisms doesn’t stop there. Garlic works from the inside out, increasing your body’s ability to fight pathogens, so that they don’t invade your immune system and cause illness.

Garlic’s ability to stimulate immune cells gives your entire system a better line of defense, should an infection or sickness occur. It has been known to fight candida infections, viruses and bacteria. Garlic increases immune cells and strengthens them. Garlic has also been known to induce phagocytosis and promote the activity of macrophages, encouraging white blood cells to fight infection and foreign organisms in the body.

Garlic is available in many forms, including raw, minced and jarred or roasted. You can also get the active constituents of garlic in a concentrated capsule form. While consuming garlic in any form can be beneficial, I would recommend that you source the concentrated capsules for the greatest therapeutic benefits. Since the active constituents are concentrated, most capsules offer an easier way to obtain the health protecting properties of garlic. If you feel a cold coming on, you can take 2-3 capsules a day (or about 100-200 mg), as well as consume a meal containing a lot of garlic.

What about the smell? It’s a concern I shared. Many odorless garlic supplements are actually very true to their name. If you consume high amounts of garlic in your diet, suck on a leaf or parsley to neutralize the odor.

Garlic has been touted throughout history for having remarkable medicinal properties. Today, it is regarded by many cardiologists and other physicians as a wonderful alternative or complementary therapy for heart health. While its heart health benefits and culinary uses may still be garlic’s “claim to fame,” its influence on the body’s immune system should not be overlooked.


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Article updated on: August 27th, 2010

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9 Responses to “ Garlic Packs a Punch for Immune Health ”

  1. [...] Continue reading here: Garlic Packs a Punch for Immune Health – Live in the Now [...]

  2. Anonymous on August 28, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    nnnyeah that is true, major brands do give out free samples of their popular health products best place to get yours is http://bit.ly/9HUMDw tell your friends and family toon

  3. ElyssaD95 on August 30, 2010 at 2:10 AM

    I can completely vouch for the claims in this post. I can’t tell you how many times I turned to garlic capsules this winter every time I felt a cold coming on. Sure enough, it got rid of my symptoms with 24 hours every time. This will be a staple in my medicine cabinet when the cold weather hits again this year.

  4. Eva on August 30, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    thanks for the “push”!

  5. Frederica on August 31, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    It seems that the more garlic one eats, the less one smells! Eat it occasionally, and it sits on your breath, but eat it daily with abandon and all is well.

    • Mary on September 7, 2010 at 9:23 AM

      Well, that sure is an interesting observation! Perhaps larger doses of garlic help to detoxify the body and improve the way it is metabolized?

  6. Boost Your Immune System, Naturally « Bites of Life on February 13, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    [...] Garlic [...]

  7. [...] Garlic does more that just whet your appetite. Its main biologically active compound allicin is a potent antifungal agent that can eliminate a broad range of potentially pathogenic organisms — including yeast. Eat one or two cloves a day and don’t forget that allicin can be damaged by heat. (Eating fresh cloves is the best choice.) [...]

  8. […] that boost that boost the immune system independently are even more powerful when combined. The immune boosting sulphur compounds found in foods like garlic and onions can help increase the absorption of zinc, a cold and flu fighting mineral found in foods like whole […]