Here are 11 ways in which garlic has a beneficial effect on our health, as evidenced by research.
1. Garlic contains allicin, which has strong healing properties
Garlic is allium (bulb) genus.
It is closely related to onions, shallots and leeks.
It grows in many regions of the world and, due to its strong aroma and pleasant taste, is a very popular ingredient in food.
However, in ancient history, garlic was used mainly for its health-enhancing and healing properties.
Its use was documented by all major civilizations, including the Egyptians, Babylonians, ancient Greeks, Romans, and Chinese.
Here's what garlic looks like:
The whole "head" is called a garlic bulb, and the individual segments are called segments. One onion usually has about 10-20 cloves.
Today, it is known that most of the health benefits of garlic are provided by one of the sulfur compounds formed by crushing, squeezing or chewing garlic cloves.
This substance is called allicin and is also responsible for the characteristic smell of garlic.
Allicin enters the body through the digestive tract, where its strong biological action begins.
Final word: Garlic is a plant of the genus Onion that is cultivated for its nutritional and health properties. It contains large amounts of the sulfur compound allicin, which is considered to have a particularly effective effect on human health.
2. Garlic is high in nutrition but very low in calories
Despite the very low calorie content, garlic is an incredibly valuable part of our diet.
100 grams of garlic contains:
- manganese: 82% of DHS;
- Vitamin B6: 61% of DHS;
- Vitamin C.: 54% of DHS;
- selenium: 21% of DHS;
- fiber: 2.1 grams;
- relatively high levels of calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B1.
Garlic also contains small amounts of various other nutrients. In fact, it can be said that it contains a little of everything we need.
And all this - only 42 calories per 100g of product, containing 1.8 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber.
Final word: Garlic contains few calories, but it is very rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, as well as manganese. It also contains small amounts of other valuable nutrients.
3. Garlic is effective in overcoming diseases, including colds
Garlic consumption is known to boost the immune system.
In a large 12-week study, daily consumption of garlic reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with placebo.
In the group of participants who ate garlic, the average duration of cold symptoms also decreased by 70% - from 5 days to only one and a half days.
Another study suggests that an increased dose of garlic extract (2.56 grams per day) can reduce the risk of colds or flu by 61%.
If you often catch a cold, including garlic in your diet is likely to only benefit you.
Final word: The consumption of garlic helps to prevent and reduce the severity of common diseases such as the flu and colds.
4. The active substances in garlic can lower blood pressure
Cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack and stroke, are among the leading causes of death worldwide.
High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the main causes of these diseases.
Clinical studies show that eating garlic significantly lowers blood pressure in people who have it.
One such study found that garlic extract at doses ranging from 600 to 1,500 mg was as effective as atenolol in lowering blood pressure over a 24-week period.
To get the desired results, the doses of food supplements should be relatively high. The amount of allicin should be equivalent to about four cloves of garlic per day.
Final word: Consumption of high doses of garlic is thought to normalize blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension. In some cases, its inclusion in the diet can be as effective as regular medication.
5. Garlic normalizes cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease
Garlic can lower total and LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels.
It is estimated that the dietary intake of garlic reduces total and / or LDL cholesterol by about 10-15% in people with high blood cholesterol levels.
Looking at LDL ('bad') and HDL (high-density lipoprotein or 'good') cholesterol separately, garlic lowers LDL, but has no convincing effect on HDL.
Garlic is not thought to reduce triglyceride levels, which is another known risk factor for heart disease.
Final word: There is a presumption that dietary consumption of garlic reduces both total and LDL cholesterol levels, especially in people with elevated cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels are not affected.
6. Garlic contains antioxidants that can help prevent the development of Alzheimer's disease and dementia
Oxidative damage caused by free radicals promotes aging processes.
Garlic contains antioxidants that strengthen the body's defenses against oxidative damage.
It has been observed that the use of high doses of garlic supplements in the human body increases antioxidant enzymes, as well as significantly reduces oxidative stress in people with high blood pressure.
This combined effect of lowering cholesterol and normalizing blood pressure, as well as its antioxidant properties, can help prevent the development of various common brain disorders, including Alzheimer's disease.
Final word: garlic contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage and aging. They can also reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
7. Garlic can help you live longer
It is almost impossible to prove the effects of different products or substances on human longevity.
However, given the beneficial effects of garlic on vital risk factors such as blood pressure, it is only logical to conclude that its consumption can help to live a longer life.
Equally important is the fact that garlic is able to defeat infectious diseases, and the above factors are a common cause of death, especially in the elderly or people with impaired immune systems.
Final word: Garlic is known to have a beneficial effect in reducing the causes of the most common chronic diseases, from which it can be concluded that it helps to live a longer life.
8. Eating garlic can improve physical performance
Garlic was once one of the first "physical performance enhancing" substances.
It has traditionally been used in ancient cultures to reduce fatigue and improve workers' ability to work.
In addition, it is worth noting that garlic in ancient Greece was given to the Olympians.
Studies in rodents have shown that garlic does help to improve physical performance, but so far very few similar studies have been performed in humans.
In one of these studies, participants with heart disease showed a 12% reduction in heart rate and improved physical performance with garlic oil for 6 weeks.
However, in a study of nine competitive cyclists, no improvement in physical performance was observed.
Other studies show that garlic can reduce fatigue caused by physical activity.
Final word: garlic has been shown to improve physical performance in laboratory animals and people with heart disease; conclusions on the effects on healthy people are not yet conclusive.
9. Eating garlic can help remove harmful metals from the body
The high levels of sulfur compounds in garlic have been shown to protect against organ damage in the event of heavy metal poisoning.
A four-week study of car battery factory workers (overexposure to lead) found that garlic reduced blood lead levels by 19%. It also reduces a number of symptoms of lead poisoning, including headaches and high blood pressure.
Three doses of garlic a day were more effective than D-penicillamine at reducing symptoms.
Final word: one of the studies shows that garlic significantly reduces the harmful effects of lead on the body and the associated symptoms.
10. Garlic is likely to improve bone health
The effects of garlic on human bone loss have not been studied.
However, studies in rodents have shown that it minimizes bone loss by increasing estrogen levels in females.
In another study in menopausal women, daily use of dry garlic extract (equivalent to 2 grams of fresh garlic) significantly reduced the presence of a so-called estrogen deficiency marker.
Thus, it can be concluded that garlic has a beneficial effect on women's bone health.
In addition, products such as garlic and onions have been shown to have a beneficial effect on the health of osteoarthritis patients.
Final word: Garlic has been shown to provide several benefits to bone health by increasing estrogen levels in female rodents, but additional human studies are needed to confirm these observations.
11. Garlic is easy to include in the diet and tastes great
Although the last on this list is not a health benefit, this aspect is no less important.
It is a fact that garlic is very much just include in the diet, and they have great taste.
It is a great addition to most spicy dishes, but especially - soups and sauces. The strong taste of garlic also gives a pleasant nuance to soft recipes.
Garlic is available in a variety of ways, from whole segments and homogeneous pastes to powders and supplements such as garlic extract and garlic oil.
The minimum effective dose for therapeutic purposes is one clove between meals two or three times a day.
However, it should be noted that the use of garlic in the diet also has a shady side - for example, it causes not very pleasant breath. Also, some people are allergic to garlic.
If you suffer from bleeding disorders or are taking blood thinners, before increase your garlic consumption, consult your doctor.
The active substance allicin is released only by squeezing or otherwise breaking down fresh garlic. If it is heat-treated before compression, the health benefits are less effective.
That's why the best way to use garlic is fresh or squeezed, dividing it for a while before adding it to your recipes.
One of the most convenient ways to use garlic is to squeeze a few cloves of fresh garlic in a garlic press and then mix them with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. This way you can get a healthy and especially delicious sauce.
12. What else?
For thousands of years, people believed that garlic had medicinal properties. We have now received scientific evidence for this.