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Eat garlic, live longer?

JINAN/(Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Eating garlic may make human beings living longer, if a finding by health experts in east China's Shandong Province is revealing.

In the garlic-producing Jinshan county of the province, there now live 35 centenarians (people over 100 years old). Almost all of them share a love for garlic, and most of them are living in the countryside.

Health experts said the ratio of centenarians in the population of the county is more than seven times higher than that in other Chinese regions.

In Huangzhuang village of the Mamiaozhen town, there now live four centenarians.

The eldest of them, madam Zhao, is 108 years-old. But she still enjoys sound eyesight and hearing. She speaks loudly and clearly, and uses no walking sticks.

Family members said most the centenarians like eating garlic, especially eggs mixed with mashed garlic.

According to villagers, once a centenarian named Li was served food by his children, his eyes moved among the food but wouldn't eat. The children were wondering if he did not like the food, when he asked "Where is the garlic?"

Wang Xu, an academician from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said garlic has rich contents of vitamins, amino acid, proteins and garlicin.

Ancient Chinese medical books say garlic can drive off chilliness, disperse swells, kill malignant gas and beef up the functions of the spleen and stomach.

Modern medicine has proved that garlic can kill more than 100 harmful bacteria and prevent flu, enteritis and other diseases.

Experts said this proves an important reason for the longevity of residents in garlic-growing areas.

(c) 2001 Xinhua News Agency

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