Health benefits of garlic include cure of viral diseases such as a common cold, fever, sickness, helps reduce blood pressure, maintains cholesterol levels, etc.
- 1 What is garlic?
- 2 Health benefits of garlic based on evidence
- 3 Research-based health benefits of garlic
- 3.1 Prevents heavy metal poisoning
- 3.2 Treats cold, cough and flu
- 3.3 Prevents tooth decay and treats oral infections
- 3.4 Treating yeast infections
- 3.5 Helps in detoxification
- 3.6 Improves memory
- 3.7 Health benefits of garlic for skin
- 4 Interesting facts for garlic
What is garlic?
Garlic has been used by humans for thousands of years and was used in ancient Egypt for both culinary purposes and for its health and therapeutic benefits (to prevent and treat a wide range of conditions and diseases).
Garlic is a bulbous herb vegetable. Its scientific name is Allium sativum basically the edible flavoring agent bulb part of the lily plant and belongs to the Allium family.
There are different types of garlic such as soft neck garlic, silverskin garlic, artichoke garlic, and hard neck garlic.
Softneck garlic is the most common type of garlic you see in the market and has a soft stalk, flaky skin and creamy white in color. The outermost cloves of this garlic are larger in size than those close to the center.
Silver garlic has a pink color on its outer sheath and has a strong aroma. Artichoke garlic has a delicious taste and has large but few cloves. Sometimes the crust of artichoke garlic is purple on the skin which is hard-necked garlic known for its purple outer sheath.
In India, Gujarat is the major producer of garlic followed by Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. Garlic requires well-drained soil and is planted from August to November and harvested within 4 to 5 months. Garlic bulbs are then dried to extend their shelf life.
Garlic is also enriched with vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
Health benefits of garlic based on evidence
Garlic is one of the best-kept medicinal antibiotic, it has been used as an antibiotic to treat bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections for the past 7000 years.
Campylobacter bacteria is one of the most common causes of intestinal infection found in many food supplies.
According to a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, a compound of garlic called di-sulfide was 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics in fighting Campylobacter bacteria.
Recent studies show that diluted garlic extract helps children with tapeworm infection, Also when used as a mouth wash a very small amount of its extract is sufficient to remove cavity-causing bacteria.
Reduces high blood pressure
Deficiency of sulfur is one of the reasons for high blood pressure or hypertension and therefore supplementing the body with organosulfur compounds can help reduce high blood pressure.
Raw garlic extracts contain a bioactive sulfur compound called S-allyl cysteine, which has been found to effectively lower the blood pressure by 8-9 mmHg (systolic pressure) and 6-7 mmHg (diastolic pressure).
In addition to its health benefits, garlic is an herbal ingredient with nitric oxide present in it, which helps in the body to relax the blood vessels and dilutes them, also fights against thrombosis by reducing platelet aggregation.
Note: It is necessary to remember that when the sulfur-containing compound allicin loses its medicinal properties when garlic is fully cooked. To get any of its natural health benefits, it is mandatory to consume garlic raw or semi-cooked.
Maintains blood sugar levels
High blood sugar can make you at risk of causing diabetes, blood pressure, obesity, etc. If you are suffering from high blood sugar, you should include garlic in your diet to maintain it.
Garlic reduces insulin resistance, blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels in patients with or without diabetes.
Garlic helps lower the blood sugar levels by decreasing the activity of enzymes (phosphatases and aminotransferases) involved in the transport of glucose into the liver, a sugar that is the body’s main source of energy.
Healthy immune system
Garlic contains phytonutrients which are antioxidants in nature.
Antioxidants flush out toxins and reduce oxidative stress in the body, which prevents you from falling ill or fatigue or suffering from DNA mutations and disrupted cell functions.
In recent studies, researchers found that garlic extract helps stimulates white blood cells (lymphocytes, macrophages, monocytes, and neutrophils) by increasing glutathione.
White blood cells are immune cells that provide protection from infection, while glutathione is an antioxidant that protects immune cells from free radicals.
Lowers cholesterol levels
Garlic reduces total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by inhibiting the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver in human and animal studies. LDL cholesterol is harmful because it clogs blood vessels and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
However, taking garlic does not help lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, “good” cholesterol) or other blood fats to increase triglycerides.
Garlic reduces cholesterol by neutralizing diabetes-producing enzymes in 70 diabetic patients.
The researchers further experimented with garlic water-soluble and lipid-soluble compounds and found that water-soluble compounds in garlic inhibited cholesterol synthesis by 20–60%.
Prevents heart diseases
Research and studies show that garlic can help prevent almost all types of heart diseases.
As people age, their ability to stretch and flex of their arteries decreases which further leads to hardening of arteries which is known as atherosclerosis.
Garlic has significant cardioprotective properties, which help prevent diseases such as atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, thrombosis, and hypertension.
Garlic also prevents platelets from binding to proteins (fibrinogen) that form blood clots and increase compounds (CMPs) that inhibit platelet formation.
Garlic or garlic powder can be used to reduce these types of diseases.
Research and studies found that garlic and onion are believed to affect estrogen levels in menopausal women with bone regeneration, reducing the risk of osteoarthritis, arthritis and bone loss and damage.
Preliminary research suggests that taking garlic pills twice daily for 10-12 weeks can reduce pain in women suffering from osteoarthritis or arthritis in the knee.
Research-based health benefits of garlic
Prevents heavy metal poisoning
Damage caused by heavy metals like lead, iron, zinc, etc. can further cause symptoms of poisoning, such as headaches and blood pressure.
The sulfur compound in the garlic significantly reduces the level of lead in the blood and also helps in better absorption of iron and zinc in the blood.
Researchers suggest that garlic is effective in reducing blood and tissue lead concentrations between humans and animals. Of course, if you are ever concerned about heavy metal poisoning, it is best to consult a medical professional for action.
Treats cold, cough and flu
Garlic can be used to treat the common cold and flu as its extracts reduced the severity of colds and flu by increasing the number of immune cells (T cells and NK cells) and boosting the immune system while reducing inflammatory proteins (cytokines).
A special mustard oil massage is done near the nose and in the area of the throat and lungs to help in the treatment of chest congestion.
Now, scientists have also found evidence that garlic can reduce asthma-associated hypersensitivity.
Prevents tooth decay and treats oral infections
Garlic has an antibacterial effect on dental plaque bacteria that causes tooth decay when untreated.
Garlic also treats oral infections such as periodontitis, oral thrush, and mouth upset with dentures. Garlic can be used in combination with antibiotics or to treat multidrug-resistant bacteria.
Allicin in garlic combusts bacteria by inhibiting sulfur-containing enzymes that are essential for bacteria to survive.
Treating yeast infections
Recent studies found that fresh garlic extracts inhibited the growth of Candida (the most common type of yeast infection).
Allicin compound in garlic inhibits the growth of Candida by destroying the fat present in the outer surface of the yeast.
Athlete’s foot caused by a fungal or yeast infection, also known as tinea pedis. Garlic is an antifungal agent and can be used to treat foot shingles.
Helps in detoxification
Antibiotics and antioxidant present in garlic effects can be used to remove toxins from the liver which causes oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
Reduction in oxidative stress can increase the activity of antioxidant enzymes, which protects the liver from further damage.
In cell studies, it was found that S-allyl cysteine is an antioxidant found in garlic extracts that activates antioxidant enzymes in the brain and protects against brain damage.
Garlic increases brain serotonin compound, a neurotransmitter that enhances cognitive performance and also prevents from Alzheimer’s disease.
Health benefits of garlic for skin
Can help treat allergies
Ethyl acetate in aged garlic extract can directly suppress the immune protein, which is associated with the release of inflammatory factors during allergic reactions.
Garlic extract prevents inflammation during allergic reactions by inhibiting the release of histamine (A chemical compound responsible for itching).
Help in anti-aging effect
Garlic contains an antioxidant called cytokinin, a hormone that promotes cell growth and delays aging through its antioxidant effects.
Can help remove scars
Garlic helps treat keloid scars, which are hard scars caused by the overgrowth of skin collagen. Garlic inhibits growth factors, nitric oxide, and enzymes involved in the production of collagen.
Interesting facts for garlic
Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated crops. It was fed to the builders of the Great Pyramid in Egypt with the belief that it gave them strength and endurance.
April 19 is National Garlic Day. The origin of National Garlic Day is unknown and is not recorded in Congress or presidential announcements.
More than 400 varieties of garlic are grown worldwide.
In ancient Greece, brides carried herbs and bouquets of garlic instead of flowers.
Crushing garlic cloves induces the release of enzymes that trigger the formation of sulfur compounds that are responsible for the pungent and long-lasting odor of garlic.
Drinking lemon juice or just eating 1 slice of lemon will stop bad garlic breath.
The highest number of cloves eaten in a minute is 34, obtained by Deepak Sharma Bajagain of Nepal.
Raw, freshly minced garlic has the most health benefits. If you cannot tolerate the smell and cook, then you need at least four and a half cloves to get the same effect.
Garlic applied to wounds can heal them faster. During World War I, this quality of garlic was used extensively by British troops.
Garlic can cause blood thinning similar to the effect of aspirin.
Garlic contains 17 amino acids. Amino acids are essential for almost every physical function and makeup of the human body.
Garlic is one of the healthiest foods on earth with many health benefits.
Garlic and onion are toxic foods for cats and dogs.
Also read: 10 Amazing health benefits of ginger