Monday, April 19, 2010

Secrets to Natural Health and Weight Loss - Garlic & Corn

Garlic

Through the centuries, garlic has been both reviled and revered for its qualities. Today, the gossip about garlic and its apparent disease-preventing potential has reached a fevered pitch. For garlic lovers, that's good news; adding garlic to dishes can punch up the flavor.

When it comes to weight loss, garlic appears to be a miracle food. It contains the compound allicin which has anti-bacterial effects and helps reduce unhealthy fats and cholesterol.

Once you learn to appreciate its pungency, most anything tastes better with garlic. And once you learn its possible health benefits, you may learn to love it.

Health benefits

The list of health benefits just seems to grow and grow. From preventing heart disease and cancer to fighting off infections, researchers are finding encouraging results with garlic. Behind all the grandiose claims are the compounds that give garlic its biting flavor. The chief health-promoting "ingredients" are allicin and dialyl sulfide, sulfur-containing compounds. Although allicin is destroyed in cooking, other helpful compounds are formed by heat or aren't destroyed by it. This lets cooked garlic give you a health boost. Garlic also contains the powerful antioxidants C and E, and the mineral selenium.

Garlic has been found to lower levels of LDL cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol, and raise HDL cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol in the short term. Its effects last about three months when taken daily. It may also help to dissolve clots that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Even when cooked, garlic helps keep cholesterol in your bloodstream from oxidizing and damaging the lining of your blood vessels, which helps prevent the formation of plaque.

Garlic has also been found to inhibit the growth of, or even kill, several kinds of bacteria, including Staphylococcus and Salmonella, as well as many fungi and yeast. Animal studies have found that garlic helps prevent colon, lung, and esophageal cancers. How much is enough? Researchers suggest you can enjoy the benefits of garlic every day by eating a typical clove weighing 3 grams.

Corn

Corn is a low-fat complex carbohydrate that deserves a regular place on any healthy table. Unfortunately, as with many other naturally low-fat foods, the American tendency is to smother corn-on-the- cob with butter.

But these high-fiber, fat-fighting kernels of goodness are better served with seasoning. Because corn is hearty and satisfying, it can curb your appetite.


Health Benefits

This popular food is high in fiber. In fact, it's notoriously hard to digest. But its insoluble fiber is tops at tackling common digestive ailments (like constipation and hemorrhoids) by absorbing water, which swells the stool and speeds its movement.

Corn is a surprising source of several vitamins, including folic acid, niacin, and vitamin C. The folic acid in corn is now known to be an important factor in preventing neural-tube birth defects. It's just as important in preventing heart disease, according to studies that show folic acid can prevent a buildup of homocysteine, an amino acid, in the body. Long-term elevation of homocysteine has been linked to higher rates of heart disease; folic acid helps break it down.
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