Fresh garlic is always mentioned in any short list of fruit and vegetables which boost the immune system and has been used medicinally for thousands of years to prevent heart disease and cancer and as an antiseptic. Recently a report was released by the Cancer Prevention Research stating that fresh garlic consumed twice a week helps to protect against lung cancer.
Good News about Fresh Garlic
This flavorful member of the onion family is a powerful immune booster which :
- Stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting white cells
- Boosts natural killer cell activity
- Increases the efficiency of antibody production
- Antioxidant rich – which kills radical DNA
- Some ailments fresh garlic may fight are heart disease, high cholesterol, may reduce high blood pressure and prevent the common cold and kill intestinal parasites !
- May strengthen the immune system and help in cancer fighting certain cancers, such as colon and stomach
- Chemical properties of garlic
Growing Organic Garlic at Home
Last year 40 Russian garlic were planted in our hobby vegetable garden and the fall crop was a bumper harvest. Our next year’s 40 or so cloves have been planted (around All Saints Day end of October) and in the middle of our winter were 6” above the ground already. Such an easy gardening addition with little work for chemical free, tasty garlic.
As we don’t have the space to grow several hundred garlic cloves we also buy organically grown garlic from our local farmers markets. Prices have come down significantly and we are purchasing an Italian (soft neck) variety which is quite mild which we use for eating raw and use the Russian (hard neck) for cooking. It is so easy to grow garlic – see Caramel and Parsley article on How to grow your own chemical free garlic
For some, garlic’s protective properties against cancer remains a controversial topic but the recent Cancer Prevention Research report sheds more positive scientific light on this topic.
Garlic is a natural product, has no side effects and thanks to fresh garlic our new friend in the story below continues to enjoy his gardening and the extra time he has been given. Highly recommend you grow your own garlic at home. Super simple!
… and here’s the rest of the story
In the Fall of 2011 while travelling in country B.C. we met a cheerful gentleman in his mid 80’s who had just finishing putting his vegetable garden to rest for the coming northern winter which included planting 140 garlic cloves ~ his next years supply of chemical free garlic. Our conversation went on to why he was planting this amount and he explained he had prostate cancer and the garlic was to boost his immune system. He said that his doctor said there was nothing further that could be done for him medically speaking so he thought he would give garlic a try. He further went on to explain that since he has eaten one raw garlic clove a day his cancer had not grown and his doctor was impressed and said to continue doing “whatever it was” that was preventing the cancer from growing. After this glowing report the gentleman was upping his daily intake to two garlic cloves per day!
- Fresh raw garlic is more easily digestible in a carrot juice (one clove), in milk or with yoghurt
- Recommendations are 1 or 2 fresh garlic cloves per day and a supplement when travelling (easier to take with milk or plain greek yoghurt)
- Garlic is more beneficial eaten as a whole food and not as a supplement
- Remember to eat fresh parsley to relieve “garlic breath”
- Also incorporate fresh garlic and scapes in your daily cooking
- Fresh garlic may interact with some prescription medications and supplements
- Garlic is a blood thinner so advise your doctor before surgery
Links & References
- Cancer Prevention Research report on raw garlic consumption preventing lung cancer
- University of Maryland Medical Centre on Garlic
- Penn State University The Joy of Garlic
- Garlic information from Langone Medical Centre
- More information at Boundary Garlic Farm on organic seed garlic
- Garlic and the immune system – interactions from Mayo Clinic
- Garlic Fact Sheet
- Boosting the Immune System to fight cancer
- Garlic and Cancer Prevention from National Cancer Institute (September 14, 2013)
“Garlic also contains protein and the B vitamins
thiamin and riboflavin, and trace minerals such
as zinc, tin, calcium, potassium, aluminium,
germanium, selenium and of course, sulfur.”
B.C. Ministry of Agriculture