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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1143: VII International Symposium on Edible Alliaceae

Garlic as a functional food

Authors:   I. Koca, B. Tasci
Keywords:   garlic, preobiotic, functional foods, health
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1143.20
Garlic has been used, for thousands of years both as a food and for medicinal purposes. Garlic can be used as a food preservative to inhibit the growth of pathogens and as a remedy for the treatment or prevention of a number of diseases. The purported health benefits of garlic are numerous, including, anticarcinogenic, antibiotic, anti-hypertensive, and cholesterol-lowering properties, the risk of cardiovascular disease lowering the effects of hypolipidemic, antithrombotic, anti-diabetic, and anti-hyperhomo cysteinemia and, antioxidant, antimicrobial, immunomodulatory, antiasthmatic, antimutagenic, and prebiotic activities. The biologically active substances of garlic can be divided into two main groups; sulphur compounds and sulphur-free active substances. The main sulfur compounds are allicin and alliin. Allicin is the most biologically active compound of garlic. Allicin is not present in raw garlic, but it is rapidly produced by the action of allinase on alliin. Allinase is activated by crushing or chopping, garlic cloves. Allicin exhibits hypolipidemic, antiplatelet, and procirculatory effects and includes antibacterial, anticancer and chemopreventive activities. The group of sulphur-free active substances includes flavonols, antibiotics garlicin, allistatin, adenosine, sapogenins, and saponin. The biological effects of additional constituents of intact garlic, such as lectins, prostaglandins, adenosine, pectin, vitamins B1, B2, B6, C and E, biotin, nicotinic acid, glycolipids, fatty acids, phospholipids and essential amino acids, are well known and the importance of pharmacological activities, such as antifungal, antibacterial antitumor, anti-inflammatory and hypocholesterolemic properties of certain steroid saponins and sapogenins has recently been recorded. Also, garlic is rich in fructooligosaccharides. Fructooligosaccharides are types of prebiotics. Fructooligosaccharides contribute to the reduction of risk of many diseases. They have functional properties, such as improving blood parameters, enhancing resistance against intestinal, as well as extra-intestinal pathogens, modulating immune responses, and decreasing allergies. In this paper, the bioactive compounds of garlic and itRSQUOs physiological role on human health have been discussed.

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