Have you discovered the benefits of garlic yet? Our ancestors did a very long time ago, and having been using it for centuries for medicinal purposes, and maybe to ward off Dracula. Like with a lot of things, as technology improved, we’ve seen a shift away from natural solutions, and have turned towards more chemical ones. For instance, pain medication, sleeping pills, all sorts of medication for our joints, cholesterol, and so on.
The sad news is, we’ve gone the wrong way. It’s time we go back to basics and take a page out of our ancestor’s book. Starting with the uses and benefits of garlic. The garlic plant comes from the Allium family, the same family that onions come from. While some people use it primarily to enhance the smell and taste of food, others use it for its medicinal purposes. You can do both.
The primary compound in garlic is known as allicin. It is basically what gives garlic its distinctive smell and health benefits. What’s even better is the fact that it’s very easy to include garlic in your diet. So you really don’t have an excuse for not consuming this beautiful plant.
Check out our top seven benefits of garlic:
Keeps your heart in check
According to a 2006 study, garlic lowers cholesterol build up in your arteries by 10-15%, reduces the amount of homocysteine in your body, and regulates your blood pressure. High levels of the first two (cholesterol and homocysteine) combined with high blood pressure usually increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases like hypertension, strokes, and heart attacks. Start munching away at those cloves.
Improves your general health and immunity
Are you constantly sick? Increase the amount of garlic that you consume, and you’ll see a huge difference. The allicin found in garlic boosts your body’s natural ability to fight off diseases, especially colds. One study discovered that the daily consumption of garlic reduces the risk of catching a cold by up to 63% and also reduces its duration by 70%! Yeah, I’ll suffer a little bad breath for that.
But that’s not all it can do. Garlic contains manganese, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, which are all essential to your proper well-being. It also includes high levels of manganese, which is known to improve bone health by facilitating the formation of bone tissues, bone metabolism, and their ability to absorb calcium.
To top all that off, garlic has antimicrobial effects in your body. That means it fights bacteria. More specifically, it can fight off the Campylobacter bacterium found in your digestive tract and also help with your digestive health.
Helps in the fight against cancer
Here’s a quick background note for you – cancer cells usually thrive and multiply really fast when the oxidation process takes place in cells. To curb them, you need a strong antioxidant. Guess one food that’s rich in antioxidants. That’s right, garlic.
People who eat it raw at least twice a week have a 40% lower risk of developing lung cancer, if they are non-smokers, and 30% if they are smokers. Its antioxidants also protect body cells from being attacked and damaged by free radicals.
Prevents Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Garlic’s ability to prevent oxidative damage not only helps in the fight against cancer but also prevents brain cells from deterioration. That is the main reason why it is linked to the prevention of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Has very few calories
Nutritious as it is, garlic actually has very few calories. A single ounce of garlic contains a mere 42 calories. Wondering how that is a benefit? Well, it means you can indulge in as much as you want without having to worry about gaining weight. I use it secretly, or well, maybe it’s not a secret since my house always smells like it, love cooked garlic. This makes me feel a whole lot better about the amounts I put into just about everything.
Enhances athletic performance
If you need to boost your physical performance the natural way, then try using garlic. Eating garlic before an activity is known to reduce your peak heart rate by up to 12% and improve your endurance by a large margin.
Treats acne and hair loss
It might smell a little, but what would you give to have clear skin and a full head of hair? Garlic is good for your body and immune system, which also helps your skin get rid of the grime that skinleads to acne. Its allicin stops the damage caused by free radicals and also kills the bacteria that cause blemishes. Another great way to treat blemishes or nourish your skin is with tea tree oil. Use both together and watch out for modeling contracts being thrown your way.
There you go. Seven reasons to start eating more raw garlic. It is also delicious, but I suspect you already knew that one. As with most foods, you’ll get the most benefits if you eat the garlic raw. However, if this isn’t for you, or your stomach can’t handle it, be sure to cut or crush the cloves before cooking it. That way you’ll release more of its goodness and enable your body to absorb its vitamins and minerals more quickly.
- 7 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic (#4 is definitely new to me) - February 13, 2017