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Health Benefits Of Garlic

Garlic is a bulbous plant, in the same family as onion. A garlic bulb is much smaller than an onion. Each segment of a garlic bulb is called a clove. There are approximately 10–20 cloves in a single bulb. There are so many health benefits of garlic. Garlic is very nutritious but has very few calories.

Garlic is native to Central Asia and North-Eastern Iran. Little wonder why garlic is a very common component of Asian cuisine. In most regions of the world, garlic is often used as a medicinal plant. Besides being a wonderful seasoning, there are incredible health benefits of garlic, as we shall see in this article. 

Fun fact: Did you know? Garlic is one of the earliest ‘performance enhancers’ among athletes! This is one of the earliest known health benefits of garlic.

The typical serving size of garlic typically contains few calories. However, up to 100g of garlic contains the following nutrients 

Energy                        623 kJ (149 kcal)

Carbohydrates            33.06 g

Sugars                        1 g

Dietary fibre               2.1 g

Fat                             0.5 g

Protein                       6.36 g

 

Vitamins                    Quantity (%)

Thiamine (B1)            0.2 mg (17%)

Riboflavin (B2)           0.11 mg (9%)

Niacin (B3)                 0.7 mg (5%)

Pantothenic acid (B5)  0.596 mg (12%)

Vitamin B6             1.2350 mg (95%)

Folate (B9)             3 μg (1%)

Choline                      23.2 mg (5%)

Vitamin C                  31.2 mg (38%)

 

         

Minerals                    Quantity (%)

Calcium                     181 mg (18%)

Iron                            1.7 mg (13%)

Magnesium                25 mg (7%)

Manganese                 1.672 mg (80%)

Phosphorus                153 mg (22%)

Potassium                  401 mg (9%)

Sodium                      17 mg (1%)

Zinc                            1.16 mg (12%)

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Other constituents Quantity

Water                         59 g

Selenium                    14.2 μg

 

As stated above, garlic, in addition to its culinary uses, garlic is also used in traditional medicine and has been so, for thousands of years. The health benefits of garlic were used by the Chinese, Egyptian, and Roman civilizations. There is substantial documentation of their usage of garlic for its medicinal properties.

You may have heard of the saying, ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’ This is especially true for garlic. Though it was not widely known, experts now understand that sulfur compounds are the primary cause of the health benefits of garlic. By slicing, chopping, or crushing garlic bulbs, the thio-Sulfinite chemicals in them are converted into allicin. Allicin, however, is an unstable compound that is only briefly present in fresh garlic after it’s been cut or crushed. What do these chemicals contribute to the health benefits of garlic?

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The Health Benefits Of Garlic Are Discussed Below:

 

  1. Low In Calories: Garlic although packed full of nutrients is very low in calories and as such, you do not have to worry over unwanted weight gain from consuming garlic.

2.Medicinal Uses: As discussed earlier, garlic contains chemical compounds with medicinal properties. These chemical compounds are responsible for the health benefits of garlic in traditional medicine.

  1. Garlic Can Protect Against Cold: Garlic protects against the cold by boosting your immune system. Garlic is very rich in Vitamin C. Eating raw garlic can protect against cough, fever, and cold illnesses. Eating two chopped garlic cloves every day is the best way to benefit. 
  2. Garlic Helps Reduce Cholesterol Levels in the Blood: This is one of the most interesting health benefits of garlic. Garlic has been shown to lower total cholesterol and LDL levels by 10 to 15 per cent. LDL is also known as Low-Density Lipoprotein, also known as ‘bad cholesterol. High levels of this are bad for your health. You should consider adding garlic to your diet if you are at risk of this condition. 
  3. Garlic Can Help Reduce the Chances of Colon Cancer: Although further research is needed in this area, available research has shown that consuming fresh garlic can help lessen the risk of colon cancer by 35%. Have you ever wondered why there is a low prevalence rate of colon cancer in Asia? This may be a result of this incredible health benefit of garlic.
  4. Garlic As a Performance Enhancer in Athletics: did you know that in ancient Greece, garlic was given to. In ancient culture, one of the recognized health benefits of garlic is that it reduces fatigue and improves the work capacity of labourers.
  5. In Detoxification: At high doses, it has been found that the sulfur compounds in garlic protect against organ damage from heavy metal toxicity. Every day, we are exposed to a wide range of chemicals and compounds Many of these compounds are not healthy and may even be detrimental to the body. Some of the toxic substances found in the environment, water, and food include:
  • Pesticides and chemicals used in agriculture
  • Radiation and other by-products from nuclear plants
  • Personal care products containing chemicals
  • Household cleaners
  • Other household products
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Garlic is a powerful detoxification food that promotes glutathione production by various liver enzymes. It also provides other important detoxifying components, including multiple bioactive selenium and sulfur compounds. However, further study is required to further authenticate this health benefit of garlic.

  1. Garlic May Help Lower Blood Pressure: you probably have not heard of the saying ‘a couple of cloves of garlic a day may help keep the cardiologist away.’ In addition to the health benefit of garlic on the heart by reducing cholesterol levels, garlic helps to lower blood pressure.

A scientific study carried out involving 550 individuals with hypertension showed that taking Kyolic aged garlic supplements for three months lowered systolic blood pressure by about 8 points and diastolic blood pressure by 5.5 points! This is a similar effect gotten from taking blood pressure medications. Researchers believe that this is possible because red blood cells turn the sulfur in garlic into hydrogen sulfide gas that expands the blood vessels, making it easier to regulate blood pressure.

  1. In Skin Care: Studies have shown that garlic can promote skin health by killing acne-causing bacteria. This means that rubbing raw garlic over pimples may clear them away!
  1. Anti-biotic Properties: Garlic contains a chemical called Diallyl sulfide. This substance is 100 times more effective than certain antibiotics in the treatment of diseases caused by bacteria.
  2. In Bone Health: evidence suggests that garlic plays an important role in promoting healthy bones. Garlic contains a compound known as diallyl disulphide which helps to maintain bone density and therefore can potentially delay the onset of bone-related ailments like osteoarthritis.
  1. To Combat Oestrogen Deficiency in Menopausal Women: Consumption of garlic has been seen to regulate oestrogen deficiency to some extent in menopausal women and therefore, may be effective in overcoming oestrogen deficiency after menopause.
  1. Garlic Is Good for Weight Loss: Garlic reduces the expression of the genes that are responsible for the formation of adipose cells which store fat. It also leads to the burning of more fat and the lowering of LDL (bad cholesterol) by increasing thermogenesis in the body.
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  1. In the Regulation of Blood Sugar Levels: if you suffer high blood sugar levels or think this condition is prevalent in your family, regularly consuming garlic may help keep your blood sugar levels in check.
  1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Garlic: research has shown that garlic oil works possess anti-inflammatory properties. If you have sore and inflamed joints or muscles, try applying garlic oil over the affected area and enjoy this amazing health benefit of garlic.
  1. Garlic May Reduce Blood Clotting: One of the health benefits of garlic for your heart health is that compounds in garlic (and onions) have been shown to decrease the ‘stickiness’ of our platelets and have anti-clotting properties.
  1. Garlic Provides Antioxidants: Garlic’s nutrients and plant compounds give it strong antioxidant properties. Antioxidants benefit blood vessels and reduce inflammation. In addition, these antioxidants may soak up the damaging free radicals that can lead to diseases like cancer. This being said, garlic offers protection against different types of cancer including prostate cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, bladder, stomach and colon cancer.

Fun fact: One of the major ways to reap the health benefits of garlic is to eat it raw!

 

CONCLUSION

There are plenty of health benefits of garlic. It is truly remarkable to see how a seemingly simple plant can provide your body with lots of incredible health benefits. There are various ways to consume garlic, to enjoy many of its health benefits. You can eat raw garlic, or add garlic to your cooking. You can make it into oils and incorporate it into your skincare routine. Garlic tea is even a thing!

It is important to note that the scientific backing for many of these health benefits of garlic as discussed above, is based on studies involving supplements and extracts (including powders and capsules), which may provide doses higher than what you would get from food. However, long-term use of garlic in smaller amounts such as in daily food preparation may also produce positive outcomes at lower doses. This means that making garlic a key ingredient in preparing your dishes will be of great benefit to your health in the long run.

Also, before taking any supplement, including garlic supplements, it is recommended that you consult your doctor to ensure that it is safe for you. This is especially necessary if you are taking other forms of medication, to rule out the possibility of drug-chemical interaction.

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