The Amazing Health Benefits of Garlic
Garlic has long been hailed for its healing powers, especially against infectious diseases like cold and flu.
This is likely due to its immune boosting effects. Fresh garlic is also a potent antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal agent. But its therapeutic effects may go much further than that.
Studies demonstrate more than 150 beneficial health effects of garlic! For example, studies show that regular consumption of (primarily raw) garlic:
- May be effective against drug-resistant bacteria
- Reduces risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke
- Helps normalize your cholesterol and blood pressure
- Protects against cancer, including brain, lung, and prostate cancer
- Reduces risk of osteoarthritis
Research has revealed that as allicin digests in your body, it produces sulfenic acid, a compound that reacts with dangerous free radicals faster than any other known compound.
Garlic as one of the top seven anti-aging foods you can consume. Garlic is also a triple threat against infections, offering antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.
Not only is it effective at killing antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including MRSA, but it also fights yeast infections, viruses and parasites. Garlic must be fresh to give you optimal health benefits though.
The fresh clove must be crushed or chopped in order to stimulate the release of an enzyme called allinase, which in turn catalyzes the formation of allicin. Allicin in turn rapidly breaks down to form a number of different organosulfur compounds. So to “activate” garlic’s medicinal properties, compress a fresh clove with a spoon prior to swallowing it, or put it through your juicer to add to your vegetable juice.
A single medium size clove or two is usually sufficient, and is well-tolerated by most people. The active ingredient, allicin, is destroyed within one hour of smashing the garlic, so garlic pills are virtually worthless.
You also won’t reap all the health benefits garlic has to offer if you use jarred, powdered or dried versions. Worse yet, at least two supermarket-brands containing garlic powder imported from China have been found to be contaminated with high levels of lead, arsenic and added sulfites, according to a recent article by PreventDisease.com.
If you develop a socially offensive odor, just decrease the amount of garlic you’re consuming until there is no odor present. If garlic makes you feel ill, this is probably your body's way of letting you know you should avoid it.
Here are 15 health benefits of garlic:
Antibacterial and Antiviral
Garlic is most well-known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. They help control bacterial, viral, fungal, yeast and worm infections. Fresh garlic is thought to play a role in preventing food poisoning by killing bacteria
like E. coli, Salmonella enteritidis, etc.
To treat skin infections
The chemical ajoene found in garlic may help treat fungal skin infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot.
The anti-clotting properties of ajoene found in garlic help in preventing the formation of blood clots in the body. Hence, it may also increase the risk of bleeding after surgery.
Reduce blood pressure
Angiotensin II is a protein that helps our blood vessels contract thereby increasing the blood pressure. Allicin in garlic blocks the activity of angiotensin II and helps in reducing blood pressure. The polysulphides present in garlic are converted into a gas called hydrogen sulphide by the red blood cells. Hydrogen sulphide dilates our blood vessels and helps control blood pressure.
Garlic protects our heart against cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and atherosclerosis. This cardio-protective property can be attributed to various factors. With age, the arteries tend to lose their ability to stretch. Garlic may help reduce this and may also protect the heart from the damaging effects of free oxygen radicals. The sulphur-containing compounds of garlic also prevent our blood vessels from becoming blocked and slow the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The anti-clotting properties of ajoene help prevent clots from forming inside the blood vessels.
Garlic has the ability to moderately lower our blood triglycerides and total cholesterol and reduce arterial plaque formation.
Garlic is known to have anti-inflammatory property. It can help the body fight against allergies. The anti-arthritic property of garlic is due to diallyl sulphide and thiacremonone. Garlic has been show to improve allergic airway inflammation (allergic rhinitis). Raw garlic juice may be used to immediately stop the
itching due to rashes and bug bites. See anti-inflammation
Remedy for respiratory problems
Daily use of garlic might reduce the frequency and number of colds. Its antibacterial properties help in treating throat irritations. Garlic may also reduce the severity of upper respiratory tract infections. Its benefits in disorders of the lungs like asthma, difficulty of breathing, etc. make it a priceless medicine. Its ability to promote expectoration makes it irreplaceable in chronic bronchitis.
Garlic increases insulin release and regulates blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Effective against warts and corns
Applying fat dissolving garlic extracts to corns on the feet and warts on the hands is thought to improve these conditions.
Daily intake of garlic has been found to lower risk of most types of cancer. This anti-cancer property is due to allyl sulphides found in garlic. PhIP, a type of heterocyclic amine (HCA), has been associated with increased incidence of breast cancer among women. According to studies, diallyl sulphide found in garlic inhibits the transformation of PhIP into carcinogens.
Improve iron metabolism
Ferroportin is a protein which helps in iron absorption and release. Diallyl sulphides in garlic increase production of ferroportin and help improve iron metabolism.
Stir up passions
Garlic’s aphrodisiac property is due to its ability to increase the circulation.
Simply put some crushed garlic clove directly on the affected tooth can help relieve toothaches due to its antibacterial and analgesic properties. But be aware that it can be irritating to the gum.
Many researchers believe that obesity is a state of long-term low-grade inflammation. According to recent research, garlic may help to regulate the formation of fat cells in our body. Pre-adipocytes are converted into fat cells (adipocytes) through inflammatory system activity. The anti-inflammatory property of 1, 2-DT
(1, 2-vinyldithiin) found in garlic may help inhibit this conversion. This may help prevent weight gain.