Dr. Perricone's No. 2 Superfood: The Allium Family
July 15, 2005
Onions, Garlic, Chives, Leeks, Shallots and Scallions
If açaí is the most exotic food on this list, the allium family of foods is perhaps the most humble. Garlic, onions, leeks and chives contain flavonoids that stimulate the production of glutathione (the tripeptide that is the liver's most potent antioxidant). Glutathione enhances elimination of toxins and carcinogens, putting the allium family of vegetables at the top of the list for foods that can help prevent cancer. Here are just a few benefits from members of this family.
Lowers total cholesterol (but raises HDL—"good"—cholesterol)
Lessens the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
Lowers blood pressure
Reduces the risk of blood clots (cause of the majority of strokes and heart attacks)
Destroys infection-causing viruses and bacteria
Reduces the risk of certain cancers, in particular, stomach cancers
Produces more "natural killer" cells in the blood to fight tumors and infections
Helps fight against neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's
Enhances detoxification by reducing toxins
For optimum effect, eat garlic raw. Cooking can destroy some of the allicin compound, which is the active constituent.
Leeks Leeks have all of the healthy properties of the Allium family as described above. However leeks also contain these nutrients:
This particular combination of nutrients makes leeks particularly helpful in stabilizing blood sugar, since they not only slow the absorption of sugars from the intestinal tract, but help ensure that they are properly metabolized in the body. Remember, the stabilization of blood sugar is one of the most important goals of the Perricone Promise. Spikes in blood sugar accelerate aging, wrinkles and a host of degenerative diseases.
We all know that onions and garlic are important for imparting delicious flavor to a meal. However, when we include leeks, we raise the flavor of the meal from delicious to "sublime." They are particularly delicious with fish such as halibut, chicken and fish and chicken soups.