Health Benefits of Garlic

Garlic is one of the most sought-after prescribed spices of choice these days.  Decades of scientific research have proved that the impressive health benefits of garlic help in treating a variety of medical conditions. Garlic has been used in traditional medicines around the world and is often credited for its health and medicinal properties and to speed up healing and fight bacteria and viruses.


Health Benefits of Garlic


Garlic with its strong smell and delicious taste—is loaded with nutrients but few calories thereby vouched as an alternate remedy for several health issues and potential benefits for your body and overall health.


Modern science has recently confirmed many of the health-promoting effects of garlic. Most of its health benefits are caused by sulfur compounds (mainly allicin) formed when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed, or chewed.


Key Health Benefits of Garlic


Following are some of the impressive health benefits of garlic:


  • Garlic has anti-inflammatory properties


Garlic has the ability to reduce inflammation that is essential to keep you healthy from various life-threatening chronic diseases like heart diseases, diabetes, etc. Different preparations of garlic (such as fresh garlic, dried garlic, ground garlic et.) contain different types of anti-inflammatory organosulfur compounds.


  • Garlic has anti-oxidant properties


We know that antioxidants protect us from free radical damage and garlic contains enough antioxidants. Garlic protects us from cell damage and aging. It may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In addition, garlic may play a key role in offering some form of protection against diseases of sexual health and fertility.


  • Garlic may reduce risk factors of diseases


Studies have shown that garlic helps to decrease some risk factors of the world’s biggest killers—elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar levels. Garlic supplements have strong heart-protective properties and appear to reduce total and/or LDL (bad) cholesterol by about 10–15% but have no reliable effect on HDL (good) cholesterol.


  • Garlic may protect against cellular damage – Anticancer properties


Garlic also helps to reduce markers of oxidative stress. This includes the highly reactive and damaging compound malondialdehyde. Studies show garlic may lower the risk of certain types of cancer such as lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer.


  • Garlic may improve cognitive health


The garlic supplements may provide brain protection against cognitive impairment for some people. In adults, it also helps to improve memory and attention.


  • Garlic boosts the immune system


Garlic is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and trace quantities of various other nutrients with few calories. Garlic promotes immune cell function with garlic’s potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.

Garlic is also shown to protect against organ damage from heavy metal toxicity and reduce many clinical signs of toxicity, including headaches and blood pressure.


  • Garlic may improve longevity


Garlic can help you live longer since the beneficial effects of garlic can fight infectious disease and protect against important risk factors of blood pressure levels, high cholesterol, chronic diseases, etc.


  • Garlic Can Fight common cold, flu, sickness


Garlic is popular to be used in treatment for preventing colds and the flu. Studies have shown that daily garlic supplements may prevent and reduce the risk of becoming sick, minimize the severity of common illnesses like the flu and common cold and bring down the average length of cold symptoms.


  • Garlic may enhance athletic performance


Garlic supplements seem to enhance performance and better exercise capability. It also reduces fatigue.


  • Garlic may work for Acne


Studies show that garlic possesses potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties to help treat acne which is an inflammatory skin condition. However, more human research is needed.


  • Garlic may improve blood flow to enhance male fertility


Studies show that due to the antioxidant properties of garlic, it could be beneficial for treating issues like erectile dysfunction in men i.e enhancing male fertility by increasing blood flow, enhancing testosterone levels, and increasing sperm production.


However, such studies are limited and further research is needed to determine how.

Tips to use Garlic in our Daily Diet Plan


Garlic is easy to be embedded in your diet and tastes delicious in any form from whole cloves to smooth paste to garlic oil or garlic extract. However, the way garlic is processed or prepared can change its health benefits.


Just like you take medicines daily garlic can also be taken as a medicinal supplement, or else you can add them to your recipes as well.


The impressive health benefits of garlic can be enjoyed by using them alone or together with other dishes. Chopping or crushing fresh garlic cloves releases more allicin than using the cloves whole but chopping or crushing can quickly lose its allicin levels. It is best to use fresh garlic at the earliest for the best result.


Following are some of the ways to maximize the health benefits of garlic


  • Consuming garlic in dishes like stir-fries, soups, dips, sauces, salad dressings, pickled, marinade.
  • Take garlic in supplement form.
  • Chop or crush them before eating to raise their allicin content.
  • Use crushed garlic before it is eaten.  Let it stand for 10 minutes before you cook it.
  • Take more than 3-4 cloves of garlic daily. Consult a doctor for the dosage to avoid any negative consequences against any prior medical condition or medication.
  • Opt for raw garlic to maximize its nutritional value.
  • Make a smoothie daily using a few garlic cloves, lemon juice, tomatoes. This helps fight infection.


Are there any side effects of Garlic?

Apart from the impressive health benefits of garlic, there are some side effects as well. Thus, as per your health condition, consult a doctor to understand the potential risks and side effects of taking garlic for your health


Some of the side effects include:


  • Garlic supplements can thin the blood. Therefore, avoid the risk in case you have a bleeding disorder or upcoming surgery, or any upcoming dental work.
  • Garlic can interfere with saquinavir—a drug used to treat HIV.
  • Garlic leaves bad breath in the mouth. To minimize the bad breath, you can eat garlic with an apple or mix apple vinegar, water and honey.
  • Garlic can increase the risk of gas, heartburn, vomiting, diarrhea, burning feeling in the mouth, bad breath, bad body breath. Avoid garlic if you have acid reflux.


The Bottom Line

Garlic is a powerful ingredient and has been known for its long list of potential health benefits throughout time. It has been taken to prevent and treat a wide range of conditions and diseases.


Before crushing, chopping, and adding garlic into your diet, be mindful that garlic has some potential side effects. As per your medical condition, check with a healthcare professional to make sure it’s safe.

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