Garlic is commonly used to add flavor to many food dishes, but it has some impressive health benefits too. The key medicinal compound in garlic is allicin, which has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antioxidant properties.
In addition, garlic is packed with vitamins and nutrients. Some of these include vitamins B1, B6, C, as well as manganese calcium, copper, selenium and many others.
A little garlic every day can go a long way in helping you to protect, as well as boost, your health. To reap the most health benefits from garlic, eat it in its raw state. Cooked garlic loses a significant amount of its medicinal qualities. Plus, to increase its efficieny as a natural antibiotic, eat garlic on an empty stomach.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of garlic.
1. Improves Heart Health
Garlic is an excellent superfood for heart health. It helps improve blood circulation, lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. It helps slow the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries which increases the risk for a heart attack or stroke.
- To improve cardiovascular health and prevent heart disease, eat 1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves daily in the morning.
- You can also take this herb in supplement form after consulting your doctor. A daily dose of 900 mg of standardized garlic powder has been found to be effective.
2. Controls Hypertension
Studies have shown that garlic also reduces high blood pressure, especially systolic blood pressure. Garlic acts as a vasodilator which helps to widen the blood vessels, making blood flow smoother.
People with high blood pressure must eat a few raw garlic cloves daily on an empty stomach. If you do not like the tate of garlic, drink a glass of milk after eating it. You can take garlic supplements, too.
3. Reduces Arthritis Pain
Garlic has been shown to reduce pain and other symptoms in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help reduce inflammation associated with various forms of arthritis. It also contains a compound called diallyl disulfide that helps limit cartilage-damaging enzymes.
To ease pain in inflamed and aching joints due to arthritis, include garlic in your regular diet. Preferably, take it on an empty stomach.
4. Boosts Immunity
Garlic is a surprisingly good source of vitamins C, B6 and the minerals selenium and manganese – all of which boost the immune system. It also enhances mineral absorption.
Plus, garlic has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that strengthen the body’s defence mechanism and fight infections.
5. Treats Cough and Cold
Garlic offers antibiotic and antiviral benefits that make antibacterial properties make garlic a wonderful treatment for cough and cold. It may also reduce the severity of upper respiratory infections.
Plus, garlic also highly beneficial in treating various respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. It also promotes expectoration with coughs, making it irreplaceable for those with chronic bronchitis.
In addition to eating garlic, garlic supplements can be taken on a regular basis to reduce the frequency of upper respiratory infections.
6. Fights Fungal Infections
Garlic has powerful antifungal properties that help fight fungal infections causing ringworm, athlete’s foot and jock itch. It also helps fight candida.
- Apply garlic gel or oil on the affected skin areas. When dealing with oral thrush, apply garlic paste on the affected areas of the mouth.
- Include fresh, raw garlic in your diet.
7. Combats Allergies
Garlic has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that help the body fight different types of allergies. It also has been shown to reduce airway inflammation due to allergic rhinitis.
It is highly recommended that people with allergies take a daily garlic supplement during the allergy season. Applying minced garlic is a good option for rapid relief from itching due to rashes, bug bites or any other kind of allergy.
8. Cures Toothache
Garlic is also effective in reducing toothache, thanks to its antibacterial and analgesic properties. Simply put some garlic oil or a piece of crushed garlic clove directly onto the affected tooth and surrounding gum for instant relief. Keep in mind that garlic can be irritating to the gums.
9. Aids Digestion
Garlic regulates the functioning of the stomach to promote digestion. It stimulates the mucous membranes of the stomach to produce gastric juices that aid digestion.
Garlic also triggers the liver to release toxins from the body, while at the same time protects the liver from harm. Do not eat garlic in excess though, as it may irritate the digestive tract and cause heartburn.
10. Inhibits Cancer
Garlic helps to prevent cancer, especially of the digestive system and lungs, while also prevents certain tumors from growing larger and reducing the size of certain tumors. The presence of allyl sulfur compounds in garlic can slow down the progress of cancerous cell growth.
Regular intake of garlic is important for those who have a family history of cancer to lower their risk of many types of cancer. Garlic supplements do not seem to be as effective in protecting against cancer as raw or cooked garlic.
- Garlic can cause side effects like bloating, flatulence, gas, upset stomach, bad breath and body odor. If you have stomach or digestion problems, use garlic with caution.
- It acts as a blood-thinner and may interfere with blood thinning medications.
- It may block some HIV drugs.