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Sunday, 22 January 2012

Garlic- The Wonder Food!

Allium sativum, commonly known as Garlic,(Hindi name: lasoon or lasun) is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive etc. 

Dating back over 6,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to Ancient Egyptians, and has been used throughout its history for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
Garlic is easy to grow and can be grown year-round in mild climates.

Culinary uses

Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavor as a seasoning or condiment.
The garlic plant's bulb is the most commonly used part of the plant. With the exception of the single clove types, garlic bulbs are normally divided into numerous fleshy sections called cloves.

Garlic cloves are used for consumption (raw or cooked) or for medicinal purposes. They have a characteristic pungent, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking.

Garlic is a fundamental component in many or most dishes of various regions, including eastern Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Southern Europe, and parts of South and Central America. 

The flavour varies in intensity and aroma with the different cooking methods. It is often paired with onion, tomato, or ginger....
Garlic powder has a different taste from fresh garlic. If used as a substitute for fresh garlic, 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder is equivalent to one clove of garlic.

Health Benefits of Garlic:

 Garlic has been used as both food and medicine in many cultures for thousands of years, dating back to when the Egyptian pyramids were built. 

In early 18th-century France, gravediggers drank crushed garlic in wine believing it would protect them from the plague that killed many people in Europe. During both World Wars I and II, soldiers were given garlic to prevent gangrene.  

Today, Garlic is claimed to help prevent heart disease (including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure) and cancer. 

Garlic is used to prevent certain types of cancer, including stomach and colon cancers. In fact, countries where garlic is consumed in higher amounts, because of traditional cuisine, have been found to have a lower prevalence of cancer.

 Studies have shown that garlic has been found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity.
Allium sativum (Garlic) has been found to reduce platelet aggregation and hyperlipidemia.

In 2007, the BBC reported Allium sativum may have other beneficial properties, such as preventing and fighting the common cold. This assertion has the backing of long tradition in herbal medicine, which has used garlic for hoarseness and coughs.

Garlic is also alleged to help regulate blood sugar levels .

Among its many health benefits, recent studies have shown that garlic can also help significantly lower blood pressure. Selenium, a compound in garlic,(14.2 ug/100 gms) helps in stabilizing blood pressure and is believed to prevent blood from clotting, helping it to move unhindered through blood vessels. This is extremely beneficial especially if you are prone to blood clots in the legs. 

 Garlic cloves are used as a remedy for infections (especially chest problems), digestive disorders, and fungal infections such as thrush.
Garlic can be used as a disinfectant because of its bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal properties.
 It has been found to enhance thiamin (Vitamin B1) absorption, and therefore reduces the likelihood for developing the thiamin deficiency beriberi.

Modern science has shown that garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic, albeit broad-spectrum rather than targeted. The bacteria in the body do not appear to evolve resistance to the garlic as they do to many modern pharmaceutical antibiotics. This means that its positive health benefits can continue over time rather than helping to breed antibiotic resistant "superbugs".
Studies have also shown that garlic - especially aged garlic - can have a powerful antioxidant effect. Antioxidants can help to protect the body against damaging free radicals. There are claims that fermented black garlic contains even higher antioxidant levels than normal cloves.
Some people who want the claimed health benefits without the taste prefer to take garlic supplements. These pills and capsules have the advantage of avoiding garlic breath.

Garlic contains a chemical called Allicin, which has already proved to have numerous health benefits. A team of Israeli scientists recently used this chemical to successfully kill cancer cells as well as malignant tumours in mice. 

Allicin is not present in an unbroken clove of garlic. It only gets released when the clove is crushed, so when using garlic in cooking, make sure you crush it and use it. Don't add the entire unbroken clove in your food, as, though this will give you the flavour of garlic, it will not provide you with the benefits of its anti-carcinogenic properties. 

The clove needs to be damaged, so it is more effective crushed than cut. When crushed garlic is added to a dish, any parasites, bacteria or other microbes get killed even before the temperature kills them, so if you are worried about eating outside food - the safest option would be to order food with a strong garlic flavour. Chances of food poisoning would be slim!  

Garlic, as we all know or should be knowing, is a natural antiseptic, and eating a clove of garlic a day also helps ward off most infections.

Italians and Chinese eat plenty of garlic in their food, and have very low incidences of cancer

Pizzas and pastas, Italian dishes rich in maida and cheese, have liberal dozes of garlic, with the result that Italians seem relatively immune to other problems associated with such a diet such as high cholesterol and heart ailments. 

Similarly, Chinese food is rich in garlic, and the Chinese too are statistically less prone to cancer and heart ailments.


How should you eat the clove?

Needless to say, crushing a clove of garlic and eating it raw would not be the most pleasant of experiences. Garlic has a very strong flavour, and it needs to be mixed with other foods in order to be enjoyed. The best way to eat garlic would be to add it in food while cooking it. Allicin gets distributed throughout the meal, providing you with the benefits of its anti-carcinogenic and antiseptic properties.

Make sure you peel the garlic before cooking it. Cooking garlic in its peel destroys its curative properties. Similarly, peeling the garlic days before and crushing and storing all the crushed garlic together to be used a little at a time may be very convenient as a time saver, but you lose many of garlic's potent health properties. The natural compound of Allicin as found in garlic loses its beneficial properties within hours because it begins to react with garlic's other components as soon as the clove is crushed.

Peel the garlic and let it sit for fifteen minutes before cooking. Just before cooking, crush it. Consume soon after.

While you can get garlic supplements if you are looking for the easier way out, it is highly recommended that you get your daily doze of garlic the natural way - through the clove itself. 

As already mentioned, garlic has numerous other health benefits, and eating the garlic fresh would give you all these benefits

If you can consume the garlic raw, there's nothing like it! Peel it, crush it fifteen minutes later and down it, followed by a little milk. Do this every night - so you will not smell of garlic the entire day. Before long, you will see your health and immunity improve, and you needn't fear cancer again.


Surprised!  Yes, just like everything else, Garlic also has it's side effects if eaten in on...

Even garlic isn't a perfect. Apart from garlic breath there are other possible side effects, especially if used to excess. Use common sense and don't overdo it. 
Raw garlic is very strong, so eating too much could produce problems, for example irritation of or even damage to the digestive tract.
There are a few people who are allergic to garlic. Symptoms of garlic allergy include skin rash, temperature and headaches. 

Also, Garlic has blood-thinning properties. Too much garlic can increase your risk for bleeding during or after surgery. It may also interact with blood-thinning medications, so it's best avoided before surgery. 

As with any medicine, always check with your doctor first and tell your doctor if you are using it.
Important: Research published in 2001 concluded that garlic supplements "can cause a potentially harmful side effect when combined with a type of medication used to treat HIV/AIDS".

Side effects from garlic also include upset stomach, bloating, bad breath, body odor, and a stinging sensation on the skin from handling too much fresh or dried garlic. Handling garlic may also cause skin lesions. 

Other, more rare side effects that have been reported by those taking garlic supplements include headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle aches, dizziness described as vertigo, and allergies such as an asthmatic reaction or skin rash..

People with ulcers or thyroid problems should ask their doctor before taking garlic.

Possible Interactions:
Garlic may alter the function of certain prescription medications. If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use garlic supplements without first talking to your doctor.
Isoniazid(Nydrazid) -- This medication is used to treat tuberculosis. Garlic may lower the amount of this medication that the body absorbs, making it less effective.
Birth controlpills -- Garlic may make birth control pills less effective.
Blood-thinning medications -- Garlic may make the actions of these medications stronger, increasing the risk of bleeding. Blood-thinners include warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), and aspirin.
Medications for HIV/AIDS -- Garlic may lower blood levels of protease inhibitors, medications used to treat people with HIV. Protease inhibitors include:
  • Amprenavir (Agenerase)
  • Fosamprenavir (Lexiva)
  • Indinavir (Crixivan)
  • Nelfinavir (Viracept)
  • Ritonavir (Norvir)
  • Saquinavir (Fortovase)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) -- Both NSAIDs and garlic may increase the risk of bleeding. NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) as well as prescription medications.
Conclusion : Garlic makes a wonderful health supplement for many people but the so-called "garlic cure" is no substitute for the basics: sensible eating and appropriate exercise. Garlic should be seen as part of a healthy lifestyle - not as an alternative to it. 

Always consult your doctor first regarding any medical condition.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Acidity And It's Home Remedies

 Acidity is one of the most common disorders which is being faced 

 by the new generation, specially by people who are high profile 

professionals. Acid is a natural agent of the body which is used for 

the digestive process.

Whenever we eat something, the cells in the stomach lining 

excrete acid to digest it but when this acid is excreted in much 

more quantity than needed, then the problem of occurs. This 

happens when the stomach is unable to digest food.

Acidity is also caused by stress. Stress disturbs the normal 

functioning of the body. Due to less energy, incorrect blood flow 

and oxygen, the digestive process also slows down. This leads to 

accumulation of undigested food in the stomach. The stomach cells 

then excretes excess acid, thus, causing problems. One of the 

major disease, is GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).

In this case the excess acid goes up to the esophagus, as soon as the

person lies down. At this time he experiences heartburn. A person 

with GERD feels a stabbing pain in his heart. This is caused 

because the esophagus causes a burning sensation in the lining of 

the esophagus.

 Chronic acidity has to undergo a prescribed treatment but to 

prevent acidity or to handle it when it suddenly occurs, here are 

some home remedies – 

1. Drink two tall glasses of  Water in the morning. This helps wash 

out all the excess acid and other impurities from the system. This 

also soothes off the burning sensation if any.
 2. Drink Cold milk or Vanilla ice cream. Within minutes, you 

will notice relief from heartburn and other acidity problems.


3. Chew on a small piece of Ginger and  little amount of 

Coriander.Continue chewing them till you swallow them.This will 

give an immediate relief from the acidity problem. It enhances 

digestive function.

 4. Coconut water is a very good cure. It flushes out the excess 

acid from your system and also soothes the harsh effects caused by 

it.This must be had early morning on empty stomach.


5. Basil leaves , also known as tulsi , are beneficial for the 

treatment of acidity also. The correct manner of taking tulsi is to 

take about seven to eight leaves of the herb each morning. 

Continuing the treatment for up to a week can help in the treatment

of acidity.                                                 
6. After fried or spicy food, drink a glass of luke warm water. This 

helps in the digestion for the food and also burns the calories thus, 

preventing weight gain.

7.If you feel symptom of the disease, take Jaggery or Gur every 

hour. The symptoms will subside gradually.

8. 1 tbsp of Chebulic Myroblan or Haritaki (Hindi Name: 

Harad) along with Amla, is a quick cure.
9.Bananas have protective action against acidity and are 

highly recommended in the diet. The alkaline ash present in 

banana correct the acidosis caused by acid forming diets.

10.Fennel Seeds (saunf in hindi) have become increasingly  

popular these days to aid in digestion.It cures the acidity or 

bloating problems of the stomach.

11. Turmeric aids digestion by helping to break down fats during 

the digestion process. It also has been proven useful for stomach 

problems ranging from gastritis to stomach problems caused by 

stress or alcohol. Raw turmeric juice is used to treat hyper acidity 

and indigestion.
12. Mint is a popular home remedy for acidity. About eight to ten 

leaves of the mint are taken and are chewed as they are, preferably

early in the morning when no other foods have been consumed. 

Continuing this remedy for a whole month will solve the acidity 

problems permanently.
13. Put a pinch of Baking Soda in a glass of water, slightly 

warmed. Gulp down this water without pausing. This will help 

overcome the acidity.
14.  Lemon juice is a wonderful home remedy for the treatment of 

acidity. The best way to have lemon juice is to have a pinch of it in 

a glass of slightly warm water twice or thrice during the day. The 

most appropriate time for this remedy is before the start of each 

15. Make a salad containing Cucumber and Watermelon .Have it 

at every meal. Both cucumber and watermelon can cool the 

digestive system and treat acidity. Taken together, they have a 

highly beneficial effect on the acidity condition.
16.  Having a glass of warm water every morning with a pinch of 

Asafoetida powder (Hindi name: hing) in it can also help to relieve 

acidity provided the therapy is continued for about a week without 

a break.                
17.  Take a glass of water, preferably cold. Add some Kokum to it 

to make a sherbet. You can add sugar according to taste, though it 

does not help in the effectiveness of the remedy itself. Then add a 

teaspoonful of Cumin seeds to the sherbet. Have it once every 

morning for a week. This will help in relieving acidity.

18.  Extract the juice of one whole Orange in a glass. To this 

juice add some Cumin seeds that have been lightly roasted. Drink 

up the juice. Continue for about seven days. This gives long term 

benefits from the acidity problem.                                         

19.  One very fast-acting remedy uses Apple Cider Vinegar . You 

have to take about two to three teaspoonfuls of apple cider vinegar 

in a glass of water and drink the entire thing at once.As soon as the

vinegar enters the body, a relief from the acidity problem is    

20.  Another method to get quick relief from acidity problems is to 

take some Yogurt and eat it as it is. This will give a quick action 

and can be had whenever acidity becomes a problem.
Conclusion: Acidity, generally is not a very serious illness and 

can be cured with simple home remedies but if it is a regular 

problem then medical care is needed. Unattended acidity can lead 

to other serious illnesses.