Benefits of Garlic:
The first time I ever ate garlic was when I was young, and I accidentally bit into a raw clove thinking it was an apple.
Needless to say, I haven’t made that mistake again! When you talk about healthy eating, garlic is usually one of the first foods that comes to mind.
Many studies have proven the health benefits of garlic over the years, so read on to learn 10 health benefits of garlic you didn’t know about!
1) Antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal
The reason garlic is so good for you isn’t actually because it tastes great (although that helps). It’s because it kills off bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
A study in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that allicin, a compound found in garlic, killed more than 12 strains of common cold viruses.
Another study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found that consuming garlic can cut cold symptoms by as much as 50 percent.
Similarly, a study from Penn State University showed allicin reduced upper respiratory infection by 40 percent.
2) Protects Against Cancer
In Benefits of Garlic: Studies have shown that garlic can help prevent cancer, such as skin and colon cancer. One thing to note is that most research on garlic’s cancer-fighting effects has been done in test tubes or other lab experiments—so there’s not a ton of data on how it actually affects humans over long periods.
For example, one study found that men who ate about one clove per day had a lower risk for prostate cancer compared to those who ate less than half a clove per week.
It’s also important to note that researchers aren’t sure why garlic may be protective against cancers, so additional studies are still needed in order to confirm these findings.
3) Boosts Immune System
A study from Japan found that two or three servings of garlic a day reduced common colds by as much as 50%. What’s more, a Penn State study found that men who ate large amounts of garlic had fewer yeast infections.
Research suggests that garlic may even be effective in treating inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis.
Scientists think it works by boosting levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is an essential molecule for boosting immune function and healing. If you have any health issues, adding more garlic to your diet might help!
4) Lowers Cholesterol
A recent study published in Nutrition and Food Science found that fresh garlic reduced serum cholesterol in overweight adults by 23 percent.
This suggests that including fresh garlic in your diet may have a positive effect on your cardiovascular health. One way garlic may lower cholesterol is by increasing production of bile acids, which help break down fat. It also contains an enzyme called alliinase, which converts alliin into a compound with anti-inflammatory properties.
These two compounds work together to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides. Lower Cholesterol: A recent study published in Nutrition and Food Science found that fresh garlic reduced serum cholesterol in overweight adults by 23 percent.
5) Treats Anemia
Garlic contains a small amount of iron and calcium, so it can make a valuable addition to your diet if you suffer from anemia.
It can also increase your red blood cell count, which helps ensure that you’re receiving enough oxygen in your bloodstream. Garlic is considered safe to use over long periods and can be added to just about any type of food without altering its flavor.
That said, it might take a little trial and error for you to find foods in which garlic’s flavor complements rather than overwhelms.
The oil form offers better absorption than raw garlic when used topically on open wounds or rashes; however, the medicinal effects are likely comparable between both forms.
6) Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Garlic and other alliums, including onions and leeks, contain unique antioxidants known as flavonoids. Studies have found that consuming garlic reduces insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes, significantly improving blood sugar levels.
By enhancing insulin sensitivity, garlic can also lower high blood pressure and levels of LDL cholesterol. Best of all, these effects have been seen after just a single month of use!
For people already taking prescription meds for diabetes or hypertension, adding garlic to their diet may offer a simple way to reduce drug dosage and side effects. As always though, it’s important to consult your doctor before adding anything new to your diet.
7) Prevents Stomach Ulcers
According to a study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, garlic extract prevented stomach ulcers in rats when fed for eight weeks. It’s been proven that garlic has similar anti-ulcer properties as drugs like Prilosec.
Fortunately, you don’t need to spend your money on drugs if you start eating more garlic. For humans, researchers have suggested that 1.4 grams per day is enough to prevent ulcers from forming.
Adding it to foods might be best for your health since many people find raw garlic too harsh on their digestive system; sprinkle it on eggs and chicken or stir it into a homemade dressing with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for an easy dinner!
8) Eases Arthritis Pain
While it doesn’t work for everyone, garlic has shown to reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
These effects are likely due to allicin, a natural compound found in garlic. It appears to inhibit tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), an inflammatory chemical that contributes to joint stiffness and pain.
To fight inflammation and ease joint pain, consider adding more garlic into your diet! Choose raw or cooked forms like garlic powder, clove oil, onions or leeks in soups and stews.
Toss crushed cloves on meat while cooking—the smellier, the better! If you have trouble taking pills or capsules, consider cutting them open and sprinkling on food instead.