Since 1970 I have been personally studying the effects of certain nutrients and how they could alter our health but in the past few years the research on superfoods has opened up a totally new perspective on a new family of nutrients.
I still respect the importance of maintaining the healthy levels of the regular nutrients necessary for health but nature has offered us a cornucopia of thousands of additional compounds that have almost magic effects on creating superior health if properly utilized. These substances are not under the classification of vitamins, mineral, amino acid or fatty acids but are labeled “phytochemicals”.
The easiest way to understand a phytochemicals is to pretend you are a plant that is growing in the wild. Everything that lives has something that attacks and wants to kill it. This can be bacteria, viruses, other living creatures and even the UV of the sun. Throughout the endless millennium of time, everything that grows from the ground had to protect itself by learning how to produce an arsenal of compounds that allowed it to resist the onslaught of these killers.
Phytochemicals is the name for these thousands of compounds that protect the health of plants. We should honor the power of these phytochemicals to protect our health in the same ways they keep these plants thriving.
One of the most powerful phytochemical plants in existence is garlic. Garlic contains hundreds of phytochemicals that are backed with solid medical research showing a variety of impressive health benefits. Records indicate that garlic has been medically used for as long as words were written. Before modern medical advances, garlic would be crushed and eaten to help prevent and treat many diseases. In a recent study with 120 healthy subjects, 60 participants took Aged Garlic Extract and the other half were given placebo. After 45 days, blood testing revealed immune system support that equaled 21% less cold and flu symptoms and 58% fewer days off from work or school. (1). Studies have also confirmed garlics ability to maintain optimal levels of blood pressure, cholesterol HDL and LDL. Also, for those of you who are interested in knowing your cholesterol levels, we will be offering our new cholesterol blood testing every third Thursday of the month at Nutrition World.
The odor of garlic is created by the ingredient allicin however we now know that even if the allicin is removed, benefits are not reduced. I have used and trusted Kyolic brand of garlic for more than 20 years. I never burp or smell like garlic and last month giving blood at blood assurance, my blood pressure was 123/79 which is optimal. Research and anecdotal evidence points clearly to the positive effects of balancing and maintaining optimal levels of blood pressure by regularly consuming garlic.
However I personally believe that Kyolic #1 most important benefit for me is in detoxifying harmful chemicals in my body. We all live in a ocean of poisons found in our water, air, home and food and up regulating the ability of our bodies to rid itself of these toxins is crucial to our long term health. Being able to detox is crucial to our long term health.
(1) M.P.Nantx, et al, supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and gamma-delta T cell function.
Clin. Nutr. 31(3), 337-344.