Garlic has been used for medicinal purposes ever since ancient Greece and beyond. It is just only now that modern science confirmed the health benefits people have been aware of for ages when it comes to garlic.
So, what are the huge health benefits of garlic people have been talking about for such a long time? Here are some things you absolutely need to know.
Strong Medicinal Properties
Garlic is related to leeks, onions, and shallots, with 10 to 20 cloves in one bulb. It is very ingredient in cooking since it has a taste that is considered to be delicious and a strong smell. But, in history, most of the use for garlic was due to its medicinal and health properties. This includes use from Chinese, Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, and Egyptians.
Most health benefits appear because of sulfur compounds that appear as you chew, crush, or chop the garlic clove. Allicin is the most known. But, it is just present for a short time after the clove is crushed or cut due to it being highly unstable.
Some other compounds that offer health benefits include things like s-allyl cysteine and diallyl disulfide. Such sulfur compounds will enter your body and offer biological effects.
Fighting The Common Cold
Garlic can help you fight sickness, including the very common cold. This is why garlic is often listed as a strong food that boosts the human immune system. But the best way to get this boost is through garlic supplements, not through food, as many believe, although food with garlic can help.
A study conducted over 3 months showed that daily garlic supplementation actually reduced colds by 63%. Also, the average length for cold symptoms ended up being reduced by up to 70% to only 1.5 days instead of 5 days.
While we still need more evidence to have a 100% conclusion, by adding some garlic to your diet, there is a very good possibility you will suffer from fewer colds and/or symptoms will not be as strong as when you do not.
Low Amount Of Calories
If we are to take a look at calories, we can say that garlic stands out as being highly nutritious. In just one clove you can find:
- Manganese – 2% of what you need daily.
- Vitamin B6 – 2% of what you need daily.
- Fiber – 0.06 grams
- Vitamin C – 1% of what you need daily.
- Selenium – 1% of what you need daily.
Besides all these, you also get good amounts of vitamin B1, iron, phosphorus, copper, calcium, and potassium. And several other nutrients are present in trace amounts.
Reduced Blood Pressure
Strokes and heart attacks kill more people than any other disease. They are mainly driven by hypertension, which means high blood pressure.
Garlic supplements were used in studies to check the connection between garlic and blood pressure. It was shown that blood pressure was reduced in people who suffered from high blood pressure.
The only problem is you need high doses of garlic supplements to gain the effects you want. If you were to eat, you would need to consume around 4 cloves daily for a long period of time, which is something most people do not do or cannot do.
Preventing Dementia And Alzheimer’s Disease
Oxidative damage is a big reason why we age and our body deteriorates. Inside garlic we find antioxidants. They can support the protective mechanisms of the body so oxidative damage is not so bad.
High garlic supplement doses increase the antioxidant enzymes present in the body. At the same time, they reduce oxidative stress when you suffer because of high blood pressure.
Since garlic helps with reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, together with these antioxidant properties, it is likely that risks of developing common brain diseases, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, are reduced.
Increased Life Span
We cannot prove benefits related to longevity on humans when analyzing garlic. However, because of the fact that there are clear beneficial effects when it comes to serious risk factors, like with high blood pressure, garlic will most likely help us to live longer.
Garlic does wonders when it comes to fighting infectious disease. These often lead to death, especially when talking about those affected by a dysfunctional immune system or the elderly.
Improved Athletic Performance
Taking garlic supplements is not something athletes think about but this might end up changing in the future. This is because garlic was actually the first substance used for performance-enhancing. Traditionally, in ancient cultures, it was utilized to enhance the laborers’ work capacity and reduce fatigue. And in ancient Greece, Olympic athletes relied on garlic for some better results.
Modern studies showed us that garlic does help get better exercise performance. But, we only had a few studies done and more information is needed before we can have a perfect conclusion. We saw that people suffering from heart disease did get much better exercise capacity but we also had a study in which no performance improvements were noticed on 9 competitive cyclists.
What seems to be the case is that garlic helps deal with fatigue induced by exercise. This means you can train more and train stronger, so garlic could very well improve your physical performance and is most likely useful if you suffer from heart disease and you want to exercise.
Garlic has been used for thousands of years to improve our health. And this is not going to change. As more studies are conducted, more health benefits are being highlighted.
While it is clear that garlic has these great health benefits, it does not mean you will notice them if you decided to increase garlic consumption or you end up taking garlic. Some benefits are associated with some conditions and there are always differences from one individual to the next. However, there is nothing wrong with giving garlic a try.
The great thing about garlic is that you can eat it in foods and you can take supplements. At the end of the day, this is highly convenient.