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bigstock-Garlic-799925a copyI heard from several friends recently that the flu and cold was going around, that they had had it or their friends and family had had it. This was news to me. It was not my or my family’s experience this winter. I wonder why? My thought is that the one difference we have made this year is to take a Garlic Allium food supplement daily to ward off bacteria and viruses. And I’d say it’s working! We (my husband, his Mom and our 23 year old son, all currently living under the same roof) have not had a cold or flu this season.

Have you heard the saying “You are what you eat?”  In 1942, Victor H. Lindlahr, nutritionist, published his book You Are What You Eat: how to win and keep health with diet.  In 1954 Adelle Davis, MSc, nutritionist wrote her book “Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit”.  I think these two books make strong cases for the aforementioned saying “You are what you eat” and I think many of us underestimate the power of foods to help keep us healthy!

Garlic, a pungent super food, belongs to the allium genus, an acrid-smelling group of vegetables whose odour derives from health-promoting sulfur compounds. Other allium vegetables include onion, leek, shallot and scallion. Alliums have always been a natural part of the diet. Throughout history, people worldwide — the Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, Indians, Koreans, Romans, Babylonians, and Vikings — have used allium vegetables to enhance health. The antimicrobial powers of allium vegetables are renowned. Even very dilute garlic juice is capable of inhibiting bacteria, fungi, and yeast. Onion tea has long been used in China for fever, headache, cholera, and dysentery. In 1858, none other than Louis Pasteur reported that garlic and onion were antibacterial. Later, Albert Schweitzer used garlic alone to treat amoebic dysentery in Africa. And in both world wars, garlic was used as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene.

Most recently, Bryan Rade, Naturopathic Doctor based in Halifax was quoted as saying: “If you happen to come in contact with a flu virus, garlic can help destroy it before it becomes a full-blown flu in the body”.

So, what makes allium vegetables do that, you might ask? Have you ever wondered why a a clove of garlic or onion bulb that is intact is relatively odorless compared to the diced vegetable? The answer is in the chemistry! In garlic, unbroken cloves contain a stable, odorless chemical called alliin, which has no known biological activity. Cutting or crushing garlic, however, causes the release of an enzyme called allinase, which quickly converts odorless alliin to allicin, the smelly sulfur compound that gives garlic its characteristic scent and taste. Allicin accounts for most of garlic’s antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial activity and most of its antiparasitic action in the intestinal tract.

To reap the benefits of allium vegetables, you have to eat them consistently and in quantities that can cause painful or socially undesirable consequences — bloating, flatulence, heartburn, belching, and bad breath. Allicin, the key to many of garlic’s health benefits, is what makes garlic smell. But sometimes it’s hard to take the good along with the bad. And those who do consume allium vegetables or supplements may find they are not reaping full benefit. Aged garlic, for instance, contains only 5% of the active compounds in raw garlic. Cooked or deodorized garlic does not contain significant allicin and thus has little or no antibacterial or antiviral activity. In addition, crushed allium vegetables or supplements without an enteric coating may fail to deliver much allicin. Therefore, I advocate supplementation with a broad spectrum whole-food supplement that is enteric coated, rendering the product insoluble in stomach acid. When the tablet reaches the alkaline environment of the intestines, however, it rapidly dissolves to deliver bioactive compounds for maximal stability, absorption and effect. Targeted delivery such as this also avoids the breath odour and aftertaste problems that can follow consumption of allium foods.

So, remember, “You are what you eat”!  Enjoy eating your allium super foods often, raw if possible, and for maximum benefit and to ward off colds and flu’s, consider an enteric coated whole food supplement, like GNLD’s Garlic Allium Complex.

How about you? Share your tips for warding off flu and colds. I love getting feedback! And remember to leave a link back to your own blog too if you have one using the commentluv feature here on my site.

Wishing you vibrant health always!

Lynn

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