Garlic has been used for centuries as a seasoning, but is also known for its strong medicinal properties.
In this article you can read the nine health benefits of garlic that science has shown.
Garlic, for example, helps to clear up plaque from the inside of your blood vessels and even has a detoxifying effect. Read on to find out why garlic is so healthy even more!
What is garlic?
Garlic is a plant of the allium family, another word for onions. Garlic is therefore closely related to vegetables such as onions, chives and leeks.
When you peel a garlic, you discover that the bulb consists of small segments. These are called ‘toes’. An average garlic bulb contains 10 to 20 cloves.
Garlic is used all over the world. It is a popular ingredient due to its strong aromatic smell and taste. But garlic is not only loved in the kitchen. Garlic has a rich past and has been known for its medicinal properties for centuries. Scientists are also increasingly finding out that garlic has health benefits.
Below you can read the nine strongest health benefits of garlic.
9 health benefits of garlic
The best-known health benefit of garlic is probably its anti-inflammatory effect. Garlic contains a lot of allicin, a substance that can prevent, reduce and even heal inflammation.
However, there is one ‘but’ to this: only raw garlic has these anti-inflammatory properties. When garlic is heated, for example in a frying pan, it loses the substance allicin. Allicin is also broken down quickly, so the sooner you eat the raw garlic, the better.
Therefore, regularly crush a clove of raw garlic and use it in a healthy dip such as hummus or homemade tzatziki (made from Greek yogurt and cucumber), or use it in a homemade salad dressing.
2. Source of vitamins and minerals
Garlic contains so many good nutrients per gram that it can actually be called a superfood. These are the nutritional values of 100 grams of garlic:
Manganese: 84% DV
Vitamin B6: 62% RDA
Vitamin C: 52% RDA
Selenium: 20% RDA
Calcium: 18% DV
Of course you usually don’t use 100 grams of garlic, but only one or two cloves. This equates to about 5-10 grams. That’s a lot of nutrients for so few calories!
3. Prevents Cholesterol Accumulation
Garlic may protect against cardiovascular disease as it helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Garlic lowers bad LDL cholesterol in your blood. This bad cholesterol sticks to the walls of your arteries, causing them to narrow. This can eventually cause blockages, resulting in a heart attack.
Research shows that garlic can lower cholesterol by 12%. This may not seem like much, but an 8% reduction in cholesterol already leads to a 38% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.
4. Protects Blood Vessels From Cracks
Garlic lowers blood pressure and prevents your blood vessels from damaging. If your blood pressure is too high, tiny cracks can form in the walls of your blood vessels. These weak spots can become dangerous in the future as they create scar tissue and allow plaque to build up.
Eating garlic regularly can protect yourself from these dangers by helping to maintain a healthy circulatory system for longer.
5. Less trouble with flu and colds
Garlic strengthens your immune system, making you less susceptible to the flu virus and colds.
Research showed that people who took a garlic supplement had as much as 63% less colds than people who didn’t. Whoever got garlic and still got a cold, was no less than 70% faster back to the old one. Other research shows that garlic can also prevent you from getting the flu.
6. Garlic helps you detox
The bad breath you get from garlic is mainly due to the sulfur that garlic contains. Don’t worry, this isn’t dangerous. On the contrary. It actually has a detoxifying effect on your body.
Sulfur can protect your organs from damage because it binds heavy metals. And there is surprising research that provides evidence for this.
A study of people working in a car battery factory, where they were exposed to high levels of lead, found that garlic reduced their blood lead by 19%. It also reduced many symptoms of poisoning, such as headaches and high blood pressure.
Garlic is so effective at detoxifying that this study found that three servings of garlic worked even better for symptoms than the drug D-penicillamine.
7. Live longer with garlic
While there are no human studies showing a link between garlic use and life expectancy, it is highly likely that it can help promote a long and healthy life. This is because garlic…
The health of your blood vessels can improve (see points 3 and 4)
Diseases and inflammation can help prevent and cure (see points 1 and 5)
These are qualities that can help older people in particular to arm themselves against a disease.
8. Garlic improves your sports performance
The Ancient Greeks were convinced that garlic can improve sports performance, so they fed it to the Olympic athletes of their time. A good idea, because scientists strongly suspect that garlic does indeed improve endurance .
Animal studies in rats have shown that garlic has a positive effect on endurance. In addition, studies of people with heart problems show that they had a 12% lower peak heart rate after taking garlic oil for 6 weeks. This allowed them to continue exercising for longer.
9. Garlic For Stronger Bones
The risk of bone loss, or osteoporosis, is greater in postmenopausal women. This is because their levels of estrogen drop, and estrogen helps maintain healthy, strong bones.
Garlic can help protect your bones by maintaining estrogen levels.
A study of postmenopausal women found that garlic powder reduced the amount of substances in the blood that indicated a reduction in estrogen.
Although no human studies have shown a direct link between garlic and the maintenance of strong bones, studies in rats have indeed found that the oil from garlic counteracts osteoporosis by increasing the estrogen levels of the rats.
In addition, garlic (like onion) may lower the risk of osteoarthritis.
Warning: a lot of garlic is not healthy for everyone
In general, garlic is a healthy product with few side effects. Still, it is recommended for people who take blood thinners or are sensitive to onions to be careful with garlic.
If you are taking blood thinners, we strongly recommend that you contact your doctor before eating more garlic. Garlic has a blood-thinning effect and can enhance the effect of your medicines.
People who are sensitive to onions should also be careful with garlic. It can lead to heartburn, nausea and flatulence.