The 16 Best Health Benefits of Garlic
When you think of garlic, the first thing that may come to mind is the smell. For others, it may be the folklore that it keeps vampires away. What do you think of when the word garlic is used? Depending on where you live in the world, garlic has a history of being used for food flavoring or as traditional medicine. Garlic is considered as an Allium, which is a species of onion, so, therefore, it is close relatives are the onion, chive, shallot or leek. In this blog, we are going to discuss what garlic is and the health benefits that it may have on your body.
Garlic has several compounds that exist in it, and after doing research on the plant, scientists know that most of the health benefits are while the plant is chopped, crushed, or chewed. Most of the health benefits are after it is cut or crushed fresh, however, based on all the research, once it enters your body, these will travel all over the body and expel its healing properties.
Vitamins it Provides
Everyone is always in need of vitamins at some point in their life. Garlic supplies small amounts of vitamin C and B6. Obviously, you are not going to sit and just eat raw garlic every day to get the amounts you would need… but adding it to your daily meals will help you in the long run.
Garlic is a good source of selenium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. To some, you may not know that your body needs these chemicals for a variety of reasons, and most of these are provided in foods you already eat daily. Just knowing that these are in our foods, does not mean that we know the benefits of them, and garlic supplies a variety.
Compound in Garlic
Allicin is an unstable sulfoxide compound that acts as a defense mechanism to deter the plant from pests. This compound however in the human body gives healing abilities. The compound still works once digested into the body and will protect your body from harmful organisms. This would include bacteria, protozoa, fungus, and several viruses. Allicin is also the main reason that garlic smells the way it does.
Common cold and Flu
Something everyone gets at least once a year is a common cold or even the flu. We all go out and get the flu shot each year just to try to not get sick, or even wear masks around those that are sick. Garlic has properties in it based on research, to help combat the cold. It has been shown that consuming garlic or even taking garlic supplements each day will lessen your chances of getting the common cold. It will also reduce the length of time that you will be sick if you start taking garlic right away. If you’re unfortunate enough to get the cold or flu, you can take some garlic and crush it up. You then can add this to hot boiling water, honey and juice to create a tea to sip on. Obviously, this does not sound like the greatest idea, but there are other ways you can drink garlic if you are brave. The antibacterial properties in the garlic could prevent you from getting sick in the first place.
Are you suffering from bronchitis, asthma, or another condition which has attacked your respiratory system? Garlic has some anti-microbial properties in it that makes it a great remedy for these conditions. Trying this could help your respiratory illness and boost your immune system at the same time while fighting off infections as well.
Reduction in Blood Pressure
How many of you have blood pressure problems? Some do not see this as a problem, but if your blood pressure is too high, it raises the chances of blood disease, clots, or even weakness. Studies are done with garlic, and it has been shown to reduce high blood pressure. Most people rely on prescription medicines from the doctor, but let us face it, pills are expensive. Using garlic daily has been shown to have the same effects as prescription drugs in lowering your blood pressure and when you use it in food, a very tasty way to reduce your pressure.
Weight loss is at the forefront of society today. Everyone wants to look like the model in the magazines, or just shed those last few pounds before a special occasion. Using garlic has been shown to reduce the way fat is stored in the body, therefore you lose weight. Obviously, this is not something that alone will help you lose weight, but in conjunction with exercise and other diet tricks, this will not hurt.
Other studies have been done that has shown an association between higher intake of garlic and the reduced risk in getting cancer. Colon, stomach, and prostate cancers are just some of the cancers that the National Cancer Institute have said that garlic may help reduce the risk of getting. It has been also linked to rectal, colon, breast, and brain cancer. This is because the garlic has B6 and allyl sulfides which have been found to prevent cancer. These compounds have been found to protect your body from cancer. It may not safeguard you completely, however it is certainly worth trying.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Alzheimer’s Disease is one of those brain conditions that most people worry about as they get older. Dementia is equally a concern of everyone as they age. This brain condition is one of the most common that affects the elderly each year and can even tear apart families. Garlic has an oxidative property in it, that will help fight your brain against oxidative damage, which is the cause of these diseases. Garlic used as a high dose supplement has been used to increase the number of antioxidant enzymes in your body to prevent the oxidation process. This will preserve your cognitive function, which in turn will help you remain mentally healthy for many years.
Recent studies have shown that garlic will provide benefits to those suffering from diabetes. It appears that garlic will lower your blood glucose levels, and this will, in turn, reduce insulin resistance. The studies are new, and so you do not want to use this instead of insulin overall, but it will not hurt to try.
High Cholesterol levels
High cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease or a heart attack. Research has shown that garlic can reduce the total LDL (bad cholesterol) cholesterol levels in your system by around 10 to 15 percent. The studies have shown that those who already have high cholesterol will see the biggest difference when taking garlic supplements. Check with your doctor to see if adding this supplement to your diet will help your situation before being put on expensive medications that you may not be able to afford.
Heavy Metals in Body
Garlic holds sulfur compounds, and in high doses, this can offer protection against heavy metals in the system. Lead is one of the most common metals that the system can be overloaded with depending on where you work. A study of employees working at a plant producing car batteries, had their levels lead in their system significantly lowered by taking garlic.
Studies of bone loss have only been done in rodents at this time, however, it has shown positive results. While doing the study, it found that it increases the production of estrogen in females. Due to those results, they did a study on female humans to examine the effects of menopausal women. These results showed a significant increase in the estrogen levels that women need during menopause due to the decrease of estrogen during this time.
Studies have shown that garlic is one of the best foods to cleanse the liver. The amount of allicin and selenium, which are its two natural compounds, in the garlic, helps in the aid of cleansing the liver. These activate once in your system, and once the enzymes from the compounds are activated, they allow the liver to flush out bad toxins in your body.
In the past, Greek Olympians were the most notable to use garlic as a performance-enhancing substance. It was also used in ancient cultures to enhance the workability of laborers. Due to the natural compounds and vitamins in garlic, your veins and arteries are opened wider increasing your blood flow. This then allows your body to receive more oxygen and therefore can increase your exercise ability. This, in turn, allows key areas in your body, like your lungs, to get what it needs to increase your stamina. Some people quit exercising because they get tired and cannot continue. Fatigue is one of those things that studies show decreases, which then allows people to continue with their work out.
Garlic has been found to kill and stop the spreading of yeast infections. Simply eating garlic can help you get rid of the infection quicker.
Treat Infection in Gums
Garlic is recommended for treatment of infection in your gums. Antifungal and antibacterial properties in garlic can help get rid of the infection, as well as reducing your pain. A little bit of water with crushed garlic mixed together forms a paste that you can apply to the infected area twice a day. This should help with the pain and cure the infection after a couple of days.
The effects of psoriasis can be painful, and by using garlic it can treat the symptoms of psoriasis. This can be done in one of two manners; ingestion or topically. For the quickest results, you would want to apply topically.
Since nutrients like quercetin, vitamin C and selenium are found in garlic, it could be used to help treat eye infections or inflammation.
How to Consume Garlic
The obvious is to eat the garlic raw, but because the taste is so potent, people prefer to cook with it or add it to various dishes. There are thousands of recipes that include garlic, but for raw garlic, people tend to mix it with salad dressings. You can, if feeling a little daring, mix like said above in a tea or an energy drink with juice. Very daring would be eating raw cloves of garlic daily to get the full impact of health benefits.
Sliced, Chopped, Minced or Crushed
Once you slice into a clove of garlic, the allicin enzymes are activated. Your best bet is to eat as soon as you can once you do this to get the full effect, not that cooking the garlic would get rid of the benefits completely. This is the most common way people use garlic, for they can put in their food for different recipes.
Salt or Powder
If you look in the seasoning aisle at the grocery store, you will find garlic salt or powder. This can be used in cooking if you do not like the chance of getting the piece of garlic in your mouth. Salt and powder will dissolve, but still leave some of its health benefits behind, just not as effective as a whole clove.
Crushing or mincing the garlic, mixed with water or oil can make an effective paste to apply topically. Using it topically means that you can apply to the skin but check with your doctor first to make sure safe for you.
New studies are happening every day regarding the effects garlic has on the system. Yes, it might clear the room when you’re talking, but the health benefits will be worth it in the end. Staying healthy is something that everyone wants, and it seems that garlic is one of the ways to carry out that. Its many properties help almost every part of your system one way or another. If you want to live to a ripe old age, add garlic to your equation for success. It is not a proven fact that garlic will help you live longer, but if the health benefits above are any sign as to the power of garlic, there is no reason to think it would hurt.
- Daily Natural Remedies: 10 Health Benefits of Garlic
- Global Healing Center: Health Benefits of Garlic
- Health Line: 11 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic
- Very Healthy Life: 21 Health Benefits of Garlic
- Organic Facts: Health Benefits of Garlic