5 Surprising Health Benefits of Garlic

Kristin Duvall/Stocksy United

Garlic may have real health benefits, such as protection against the common cold and the ability to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, according to current research.

“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”

These are the famous words of Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician who is often referred to as the father of Western medicine.

He prescribed garlic as a treatment for a variety of medical conditions, and modern science has confirmed many of these garlic health benefits.

Here are eleven health benefits of garlic supported by human studies.

1. Garlic contains medicinally effective compounds

Garlic is an Allium (onion) family plant. It is closely related to shallots, leeks, and onions.

Each segment of an onion bulb is referred to as a clove. There are approximately 10–20 cloves in a single bulb.

Due to its pungent odor and delicious flavor, garlic is cultivated in many regions of the world and is a popular cooking ingredient.

However, throughout ancient history, garlic was primarily utilized for its medicinal and health benefits.

Numerous major civilizations, including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese, left extensive records of its use.

Scientists now understand that the majority of garlic’s health benefits are the result of sulfur compounds produced when a clove is chopped, crushed, or chewed.

Allicin is perhaps the most well-known compound. However, allicin is an unstable compound that is only present briefly in freshly cut or crushed garlic.

Other compounds that may contribute to the health benefits of garlic include diallyl disulfide and s-allyl cysteine.

Garlic’s sulfur compounds are absorbed through the digestive tract. They then travel throughout the entire body, exerting powerful biological effects.

2. Garlic is nutritionally dense but low in calories.

Garlic is extremely nutritious, calorie for calorie.

A single clove of raw garlic (3 grams) contains:

Manganese: two percent of the daily value (DV)
Vitamin B6: 2% of the Daily Value
Vitamin C: 1% of the Daily Value
Selenium: 1% of the Daily Value
Fiber: 0.06 grams

There are 4.5 calories, 0.2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of carbohydrates in this item.

Garlic contains trace amounts of numerous additional nutrients.

3. Garlic can aid in the prevention of illness, including the common cold

Garlic supplements are known to enhance immune system function.

Compared to a placebo, a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% over the course of a 12-week study.

In addition, the average duration of cold symptoms decreased by 70%, from 5 days in the placebo group to only 1.5 days in the garlic group.

Another study discovered that a high dose of aged garlic extract (2.56 grams per day) reduced the number of cold or flu-related days by 61%.

Nonetheless, a review concluded that the evidence is insufficient and that further study is required.

Despite the lack of conclusive evidence, it may be worthwhile to include garlic in your diet if you frequently contract colds.

4. The active ingredients in garlic can lower blood pressure

Cardiovascular diseases like heart attack and stroke are the leading cause of death in the United States.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the most significant risk factors for these diseases.

Human studies indicate that garlic supplements have a significant impact on lowering blood pressure in individuals with hypertension.

In one 24-week study, 600–1,500 mg of aged garlic extract reduced blood pressure just as effectively as the drug Atenolol.

To achieve the desired effects, supplement doses must be quite high. The daily requirement is roughly equivalent to four cloves of garlic.

5. Garlic improves cholesterol levels, which may reduce heart disease risk.

Garlic can reduce total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Garlic supplements appear to reduce total and LDL cholesterol by 10–15% in those with high cholesterol.

Looking specifically at LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol, garlic appears to reduce LDL but has no effect on HDL.

Another known risk factor for heart disease is elevated triglyceride levels, but garlic appears to have no effect on triglyceride levels.

The conclusion

Garlic was believed to have medicinal properties for millennia. Now, science is beginning to verify it.

If you are currently taking blood-thinning medications, consult your doctor before increasing your garlic consumption dramatically. Watch video here

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