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Garlic

The claim that eating garlic reduces cholesterol is controversial. However, it is an accepted fact that garlic lowers the risk of colon cancer. See text.

Garlic, or Allium sativum, is a species in the genus Allium. It is used as a culinary and medicinal plant. Strictly speaking, the variety Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon (syn.: Allium ophioscorodon), called hard-necked garlic, belongs to this species. Hard-necked garlic includes porcelain garlics, rocambole garlic, and purple stripe garlics. Pearl onions, however, are closely related to leeks. Here we are dealing with common cultivated garlic.

There are numerous varieties of garlic that can be planted in the autumn or spring, and in areas with favorable conditions (winegrowing areas), you can also find wild garlic. If the cloves are not fully matured, they form a garlic “round” (similar to Chinese garlic chives, which are a type of leek).

The smell of garlic has a different effect for different people, no matter if it is eaten raw or cooked. The chlorophyll in parsley, ginger, and other foods is effective against the unpleasant smell of garlic.

Nutritional value:

From Wikipedia: “In the typical serving size of 1–3 cloves (3–9 g), garlic provides no significant nutritional value with the content of all essential nutrients below 10% of the Daily Value (DV). When expressed per 100 grams, garlic contains several nutrients in rich amounts (> 20% DV), including vitamins B6 and C, and the dietary minerals, manganese and phosphorus. Per 100 gram serving, garlic is also a good source (10–19% DV) of certain B vitamins including thiamine (Vitamin B1), and pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), as well as certain dietary minerals including calcium, iron, and zinc.”

Smell of garlic:

“A large number of sulfur compounds contribute to the smell and taste of garlic. Allicin has been found to be the compound most responsible for the "hot" sensation of raw garlic. ... The process of cooking garlic removes allicin, thus mellowing its spiciness. ... Because of its strong odor, garlic is sometimes called the "stinking rose". When eaten in quantity, garlic may be strongly evident in the diner's sweat and garlic breath the following day.”

Research results (cholesterol, blood pressure, and cancer):

“A 2013 meta-analysis concluded that garlic preparations may effectively lower total cholesterol by 11–23 mg/dL and LDL cholesterol by 3–15 mg/dL in adults with high cholesterol if taken for longer than two months. The same analysis found that garlic had a marginally positive effect on HDL cholesterol and no significant effect on blood triglyceride levels, and that garlic preparations were generally well tolerated with very few side effects.

A 2012 Cochrane review of two randomized controlled trials found that the effect of garlic supplementation on blood pressure is unclear and that there is insufficient evidence to determine if garlic lowers cardiovascular death and disease rates in people with hypertension.

As garlic may reduce platelet aggregation, patients taking anticoagulant medication are cautioned about consuming garlic.

A 2014 meta-analysis of observational epidemiological studies found that garlic consumption is associated with a lower risk of stomach cancer in the Korean population. Similarly, a 2013 meta-analysis of case-control studies and cohort studies found limited evidence suggesting an association between higher garlic consumption and a lower risk of prostate cancer. However, the association was only significant in the case-control studies and the authors noted there was evidence of publication bias.”

Allergies:

“Some people suffer from allergies to garlic and other species of Allium. Symptoms can include irritable bowel, diarrhea, mouth and throat ulcerations, nausea, breathing difficulties, and, in rare cases, anaphylaxis. Garlic-sensitive patients show positive tests to diallyl disulfide, allylpropyldisulfide, allylmercaptan and allicin, all of which are present in garlic. People who suffer from garlic allergies are often sensitive to many other plants, including onions, chives, leeks, shallots, garden lilies, ginger, and bananas.”

Storage:

“Domestically, garlic is stored warm [above 18 °C (64 °F)] and dry to keep it dormant ... It is traditionally hung; ... Peeled cloves may be stored in wine or vinegar in the refrigerator. Commercially, garlic is stored at 0 °C (32 °F), in a dry, low-humidityenvironment. Garlic will keep longer if the tops remain attached.”