Give the cold shoulder to congestion, sore throats, and bland food with a clove of garlic. Not only will it zest up your meal, it will boost your immune system – thanks to allicin. This natural compound, released when you crush the cloves, is what gives garlic its flavor and aroma.
Allicin works to fight colds, the flu and other infections by breaking down into smaller chemicals called sulfur compounds. They jump-start your immune system, helping your body get rid of harmful toxins and microorganisms naturally.
More importantly, allicin acts like antibiotic. It’s been called “Russian penicillin” for its ability to help the body fight off infections, particularly respiratory and digestive infections. Military studies from World War II showed that soldiers who ate the most garlic had the fewest cases of dysentery.
You name it and the allicin in garlic seems to kill it – bacteria, molds, viruses, yeasts, and other parasites. Some of its victims include H. pylori, the bug behind stomach ulcers, as well as Salmonella and E. coli.
Mincing fresh garlic seems to be the best way to get all the benefits of allicin. Experts recommend eating from one-half to three cloves a day. You can also try garlic powder or supplements. Whatever type you consider, talk with your doctor if you’re taking blood-thinning medication like walfarin.