Phytochemicals in Garlic
Types of Preparation
Potential Health Benefits
Phytochemicals in Garlic
Phytochemicals are “compounds found in plant-derived foods that have biological activity in the body” (Whitney and Rofles 469). They are classified as non-nutrients. They are found in fruits and vegetables, whole grain and nuts. Phytochemicals are responsible for taste, Aroma and color of plant food. Thousands of phytochemicals have been discovered and research is still on-going on a lot more. These pytochemicals have been grouped according to source and possible health benefits. These groupings include: Flavanoids, Carotenoids, Isothiocynates, Indoles, Organosulphurs, Phenolic acids, and Phytic acids, Saponins, Tannins, Phtyoestrogens, Curcumin, Monoterpenes, Alkylresorcinols, Capsaicin, Resveratrol, Lignans and Protease Inhibitors (Whitney and Rofles 471). Phytochemicals have been discovered to produce profound physiological effects in the body. Numerous researches have found out they act as antioxidants and aid in suppressing a number of diseases. People are encouraged to consume phytochemicals in organic foods rather than synthetic ones. This papers discusses garlic, one of the common vegetables researchers have shown contains a lot of phytochemicals with promises of many health benefits. Garlic
Cultivated Garlic (scientifically Allium Sativum, common names, Stinking Rose or Poor Man’s Treale) belongs the lily family or bulb shaped plants that also include Onion, Chives, Leeks and Shallots. Mature garlic is tough with white leaves enclosing internal cloves. For many generations, garlic has been used for flavoring food and medicinal purposes. In recent times, it has gained scientists attention due to many potential health benefits it exhibits.
A good number of phytochemicals can be derived from raw garlic. Many of these phytochemicals are only formed when the garlic is chopped, chewed or crushed. Once it is cut, chemical reactions take place resulting in many new compounds accompanied with intense odor (“Garlic 6”). Sulphur containing phytochemicals of garlic include: allicin, alliin and ajoene, dithiin, S-Allylcysteine, Diallylsulphides, methiin and Allyl Methyl Sulphides (Bao and Fenwick 152). Alliin is converted to allicin by the enzyme alliinase when intact garlic is cut.Allicin is thermally unstable and decomposes to yield other phytochemicals such ajoene and various derivatives of dithiin. This phytochemicals may inturn react with the enzyme and form other compounds (Bao and Fenwick 152). Allicin is responsible for the strong odor of garlic. Other important phytochemicals in garlic include flavonoids, citral, geraniol, linalool, A-phellandrene and B-phellandrene. The amount of phytochemical present in a garlic extract has been cited to depend on the processing method, the type of species, geographic location and storage (Lachance 82). Garlic also contains vitamins and important minerals such as B-Vitamins especially B-1, vitamin C, vitamin A, ascorbic acid, phosphorous, potassium, sulphur, selenium, calcium, magnesium, germanium, sodium, iron, manganese and trace iodine (“Garlic 6”). Types of preparations
There are four major types of garlic preparations: garlic powder, aged garlic extract (AGE), garlic oil and garlic oil macerate (Amagase et al. n.pag). Garlic powder is made by slicing or crushing garlic cloves then drying and grinding them into powder (“Garlic and Cancer” 2). Aged garlic extract is made from whole or sliced garlic cloves that are soaked in alcohol solution or a suitable solvent for varying amount of time (“Garlic and Cancer 2”). This process is believed to substantially reduce allicin and increase the amount highly bioactive compounds such as...