The fact that garlic is good for you is pretty much a no-brainer. For everything from the winter cold to staving off “Montezuma’s Revenge” when traveling, for thousands of years people have used garlic not only for spicing up sauces and steamed veggies, but also for dozens of common ailments. But did you know that even conventional medical institutions recognize garlic as a cancer preventative? It’s true– and here are some of the reasons why.
Allicin Makes Garlic a Healing Powerhouse
Garlic is not an herb, as many may think, but a pungent vegetable that is part of the Allium class of bulbous plants. Close cousins include onions, chives, scallions and leeks.
There are several unique phytonutrients in garlic that make it such an amazing potential healer in so many ways. First, garlic contains a sulfur-containing phytonutrient called Allicin, which is responsible for its strong odor as well as many of its healing qualities. Allicin is an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and is great for combatting candida, viral infections and parasites, issues that many women with breast cancer struggle with. Allicin also strengthens the immune system, which is vital for cancer prevention and potential healing.
Keep in mind that Allicin is not a “stable” substance. This means that fresh garlic must be chopping, let sit for about 10 minutes and then consumed within about an hour to have the most benefits. Supplements do exist that contain stabilized Allicin from garlic in capsule form. Make sure that you purchase a supplement that contains active enzymes as well.
Garlic is a Great Source of Sulphur
Allicin is responsible for the sulphur content in garlic and this contributes greatly to its healing effects as well. Sulfur is one of the most abundant minerals in the body. It is vital for the formation of muscles, skin and bones but also plays important roles in literally hundreds of other physiological processes. Without enough of it, enzymes cannot work properly in the body. Sulfur-containing vegetables can increase the activity of the liver’s detoxification pathways, helping the body to rid itself of carcinogens that contribute to cancer.
Finally, garlic also contains other vital vitamins and minerals, such as selenium, the amino acid arginine, certain flavonoids as well as oligosaccharides, which all contribute to garlic’s overall healing “punch.”
The Garlic-Breast Cancer Prevention Connection
According to the National Cancer Institute, “Several population studies show an association between increased intake of garlic and reduced risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast.”
One of the most impressive studies was conducted in 2006 and was part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), an on-going worldwide study on cancer and nutrition. Taking data from both women and men in 10 different countries, EPIC researchers discovered that a higher intake of both garlic and onions were connected with a lower risk of intestinal cancer. Other population studies confirm similar results for colon, esophageal, pancreatic and stomach cancer.
The results for studies that connect garlic to breast cancer reduction are even more impressive. A French study found that consuming garlic, as well as onions and more fiber, led to reduced breast cancer risk that was considered statistically significant by the researchers. And a study conducted by Egyptian researchers at Mansoura University found that Allicin supplementation could decrease the liver toxicity associated with Tamoxifen in animal models. Tamoxifen is a common drug administered as part of traditional breast cancer treatment protocols and liver damage is often par for the course for the millions of women who take it.
Allicin as well as other phytonutrients, especially selenium and flavonoids found in garlic, may produce such great results against breast cancer and other cancers not only because they help the liver to detox carcinogens, but because they may also directly inhibit free radical production, according to a 2001 Tufts University investigation. Garlic may also induce apoptosis, and Allicin in particular may even encourage DNA repair.
The Point? Eat Garlic for Breast Cancer Prevention!
Wow, that is a lot of possible healing power for such a humble little vegetable! Even the World Health Organization recommends one clove of garlic a day for general health maintenance. If you are a garlic lover, then you probably don’t mind the signature odor that may linger after your once-a-day clove. The great news for those who would rather not smell like an Italian restaurant all day is that there are odorless options. Elephant garlic has larger bulbs and is odor-free, but still contains Allicin. In fact, some studies have found that consuming elephant garlic can affect bone cancer (osteosarcoma) cells. As was mentioned earlier, quality Allicin supplements do exist as well.
In whatever form you take it, the proof is out there. Without a doubt, garlic works as a breast cancer preventer and should be one substance in your Healthy Breast toolbox that you turn to every day!
Dr. Veronique Desaulniers (“Dr. V”) is a best-selling author and founder of breastcancerconqueror.com . She specializes in Chiropractic, Bio-Energetics, Meridian Stress Analysis, Homeopathy and Digital Thermography. After 30 years in active practice, she decided to “retire” and devote her time to sharing her personal, non-toxic Breast Cancer healing journey with others. Her years of experience and research have culminated in “The 7 Essentials™ “, a step-by-step coaching program that unravels the mystery of healing the body. Her website and personal healing journey have touched the lives of thousands of women around the globe.