Cervical Cancer Fighting Potential of Garlic
Did you know that Hippocrates, the 'father of medicine', used to treat cervical cancer with garlic? Obviously, modern doctors would not recommend treating a serious condition, such as cervical cancer, with only garlic. However, research conducted on animals indicates that garlic does indeed possess properties that may help prevent cervical cancer. Therefore, eating garlic as a preventive measure and in combination with other healthy cancer-fighting foods is certainly not a bad idea if your goal is to reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer.
Garlic appears to fight and prevent cancer, including cervical cancer, through multiple mechanisms. Garlic, especially raw garlic, has been found to be highly effective at activating enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing substances. Furthermore, garlic helps fight the production of harmful free radicals in the body. It is also capable of inducing apoptosis, a process that your body uses to get rid of unneeded or abnormal cells. Cancerous cells develop mechanisms that allow them to evade this natural process.
Many of the cervical cancer fighting effects of garlic described above are linked to organosulphur compounds which are produced when allicin, a key active compound in garlic, is decomposed. If you are planning to increase your allicin intake, you should know that a garlic bulb forms allicin only when it is damaged (for example, through chopping or crushing). To fully benefit from the cervical cancer fighting effects of garlic, allow crushed or chopped garlic sit for about 10 minutes before cooking or eating it — this should leave enough time for allicin to form after crushing or chopping.
In addition to providing allicin, raw garlic delivers an abundance of vitamin C: just five cloves of raw garlic account for 8% of the reference daily value for vitamin C! According to a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies, a diet rich in vitamin C may help reduce the risk of cervical cancer in women. However, this analysis looked at fruit as a source of vitamin C in the diet, and therefore, as the authors of the study point out, the observed protective effects could also be linked to some other fruit compound. This meta-analysis appeared in the January 1991 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Garlic also provides a fairly good dietary source of zinc. Zinc is vital to your body's ability to produce superoxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme that may help fight cervical cancer by destroying harmful free radicals. In addition, zinc may also contribute to a lowered risk of cervical cancer by helping the immune system eliminate abnormal or worn out cells before they multiply and form tumors.