Often times we think of the health benefits of garlic as pertaining to our heart health and its antibacterial properties.
But there are many important systems in the body that need tending to, which are also consistently under some form of assault from modern living.
Take a look at the myriad potential risks to lung health, for instance.
Smoking, indoor air pollution, outdoor air pollution, etc.
Some, like smoking, we can avoid. Others, like air pollution, not so much.
So should we be afraid or are there steps we can take to protect ourselves?
If you’ve been here before, you know fear is not the answer. We are going to take power back over our health. And science may have shown us another tool found in nature that could help us.
And it’s a delicious one.
Do the health benefits of garlic extend to our lungs?
Two studies out of China looked into whether consumption of raw garlic had an impact on the risk of developing lung cancer.
Both discovered positive results.
The smaller of the two was published in the April 2016 edition of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention.
Between 2005 and 2007, they collected epidemiological data via face-to-face interviews with 399 individuals with lung cancer and 466 healthy controls.
Based on the results and after controlling for factors such as age, sex, income, smokers/non-smokers, and exposure to indoor air pollution, they calculated the risk of incident lung cancer among those who consumed garlic less than twice per week and greater than twice per week when compared against those who consumed no raw garlic at all.
The results came in very strong for garlic.
Good news for garlic lovers
They found that those who consumed raw garlic less than twice per week had 44% lower odds of lung cancer.
Even better, they found that those who consumed raw garlic more than twice per week had 50% lower odds of lung cancer.
As always, more studies to replicate results are very important.
In this case, a second study out of China helps in that regard.
(Studies on more varied populations would also be helpful, but these two at least give us a decent idea of the potential of raw garlic.)
The larger study, published in the July 2013 edition of the journal Cancer Prevention Research, utilized a larger participant base and was conducted over a longer period of time. However, it showed quite similar results.
In this case, the study was conducted from 2003-2010, also using face-to-face interviews, but gathered data from a much larger data set. This time, they studied 1,424 lung cancer cases and 4,543 healthy controls.
Their results indicated that those who consumed raw garlic more than twice per week had 44% lower odds of lung cancer, compared with the smaller study’s result of 50% lower odds.
Slightly different results, but a similar general finding.
Do the possible health benefits of garlic make it a cure-all?
Does this mean you can now smoke like a smokestack so long as you’re grinding down some raw garlic in your mouth while doing so?
Not entirely, although it might not hurt.
(It certainly won’t help your breath, but perhaps your health.)
In any case, be sure to talk to your doctor to see if adding some raw garlic to your diet might be a good idea for you.
And be sure to check out this page for additional information on the potential of garlic for your health!
Here’s to your health!
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