7 Best Health Benefits of Garlic

Garlic is a potent substance with a long list of possible health benefits. (Image by Surya Prakash)
Garlic is a potent substance with a long list of possible health benefits. (Image by Surya Prakash)

Garlic, scientifically known as Allium sativum, is related to shallots, chives and leeks and belongs to the onion genus. Although it originated in Central Asia, it is now grown worldwide. Garlic has been used as a flavourful component in cuisine for ages. It's also used medicinally to cure various ailments and diseases.

The early applications of garlic can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians, who used it as a staple in their diet. Its use as a remedy dates back to ancient Asia and the Middle East.

An ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, regularly prescribed garlic to cure respiratory problems, intestinal troubles, parasites, poor mood and other ailments. As antibiotics were not available then, garlic was used to treat epidemics such as cholera, influenza, typhus and dysentery around 1500 BC. Garlic can be consumed raw or cooked, providing a plethora of health benefits.

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Health benefits of garlic

#1 Good for heart health

Garlic contains allicin, which can help decrease cholesterol and support heart health by preventing LDL from oxidising.

Garlic helps prevent thromboembolism by reducing the occurrence of blood clots. It's important to note that the sulphur-containing component, allicin, loses its therapeutic benefits when garlic is cooked whole. To reap the benefits of garlic, it must be consumed raw or semi-cooked.

#2 Blood sugar levels are reduced

Garlic's effect on blood sugar levels have been studied extensively in clinical trials. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease have all been linked to elevated blood sugar levels.

One study compared the diabetes medicine, Metformin, with garlic in 60 diabetic and obese people to check if it could be useful. According to the study, Garlic pills helped patients lower their blood sugar, cholesterol and lipids. As a result, garlic could be effective as a cure for such ailments and prevent other health problems.

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#3 Aids in the prevention of common cold

Garlic supplements have been shown to strengthen your immunity system. Compared to a placebo, a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% in a 12-week study.

Cold symptoms were also decreased by 70% in the garlic group, from five days in the placebo group to only 1.5 days. According to another study, a high dose of garlic extract reduced the number of days spent with a cold or flu by 61%.

One assessment, though, determined that the data is weak and that more research is required. Despite the absence of convincing proof, adding garlic to your diet can be worth trying if you get colds frequently.

#4 Anti-bacterial properties

Garlic has been used as an antibiotic to treat bacterial, fungal and parasitic illnesses for over 7,000 years, making it one of the best-kept medicinal secrets of mankind.

According to studies, children with tapeworm infections may benefit from diluted garlic extract. Although a garlic-based mouthwash may not smell like fresh, minty breath, a small number of its extracts is enough to keep cavity-causing germs at bay.

#5 Rich in Antioxidants

Too many free radicals in the body create various chronic illnesses and diseases. These are inherently unstable chemicals that destroy cells and tissues. External causes such as smoking, hazardous chemicals and pollution can cause free radicals to form in the body.

Antioxidants are key in the fight against free radicals. Garlic has a lot of antioxidants. It's high in vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, manganese and other nutrients. These molecules aid in the battle against harmful free radicals that cause fatal diseases such as heart disease.

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#6 Aids in preventing Alzheimer's and dementia

Oxidative damage caused by free radicals aid the ageing process. Garlic is high in antioxidants, which helps the body's natural defences against oxidative stress.

Garlic supplements at high doses have been found to boost antioxidant enzymes in humans and lower oxidative stress in people with high blood pressure. The antioxidant qualities and the combined impact on lowering cholesterol and blood pressure can lessen the risk of brain diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia.

#7 Boosts Digestion

If you consume garlic in your diet, it can help you in having better digestive health. It is beneficial for bowels and helps relieve iscomfort. Raw garlic can help to get rid of intestinal worms. It destroys bad bacteria while preserving helpful microorganisms in the stomach.

Takeaway

Garlic is a potent substance with a long list of health benefits. According to human and animal research, it may increase libido by boosting blood flow and enhancing fertility, particularly in men.

It can be included in a nutritious, well-balanced diet to promote general health and illness prevention. If you're using garlic, crush or chop it first, and set it aside for at least ten minutes before cooking. That raises the amount of Allicin, responsible for many health advantages connected with garlic.

Edited by Bhargav