One of the most popular herbs in the world, garlic has a rich history dating back thousands of years. Going by the name Allium sativum, garlic seems to have originated in two places- Central America and Iran, though it also had a noteworthy presence in Egypt early in its recorded history. Garlics are related to onions, eschallots and cloves to name a few.
Today, garlic is grown in many parts of the world, given that the climate is cool or it is grown in shady areas. This makes it an ideal herb for inclusion in numerous meals, and also use as an herbal remedy for various conditions.
Nutrition Facts (per 100g)
Dietary Fiber-2g 8% RDA
Protein-6.5g 13% RDA
Vitamin C-31mg 52% RDA
Thiamin-0.2mg 13% RDA
Riboflavin-0.1mg 6% RDA
Niacin-0.7mg 4% RDA
Vitamin B6-1.2mg 62% RDA
Pantothenic Acid 0.6mg 6% RDA
Calcium-180mg 18% RDA
Iron-1.7mg 9% RDA
Magnesium-25mg 6% RDA
Phosphorus-155mg 15% RDA
Potassium-400mg 11% RDA
Zinc-1.2mg 8% RDA
Copper-0.3mg 15% RDA
Manganese-1.7mg 84% RDA
Selenium-14.2mcg 20% RDA
13 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic
1. Help Control Blood Pressure
Garlic has profound effects on lowering blood pressure, as was revealed in a study conducted on persons using anti-hypertensive medications and yet having poor control over it. Garlic supplementation in the vicinity of 1g/ day (in the form of standardized garlic capsules) was found to bring about immense reduction in blood pressure levels, as to be comparable to prescription medications in many cases. This action is thought to be due to garlic’s polysulfides which have a vasodilatory action on blood vessels, widening them and lowering vessel wall tension.
2. Garlic Enhances Your Immunity
Garlic may be the true VIP when it comes to enhancing your immunity, as it successfully kills a wide range of bacteria that cause infections, including those as common as the cold to much rarer and hardly ever seen strains. This boost in immunity is due to the presence of the compound allicin, which in addition to killing these microbes, also prevent infections from occurring in the first place. Allicin also possesses anti-fungal and anti-viral properties, making it an all-round immunity booster.
3. Reduces Levels of LDL Cholesterol
The use of garlic for its cholesterol reducing effects is one of its most popular roles across the world, and is something it does fairly well; being able to reduce serum LDL by as much as 10-15%. Many people all over the world consume crushed garlic cloves for this purpose with fair success. It is important to note that garlic consumption has no effect on HDL or triglyceride levels.
4. Help Prevent Neuro-Degenerative Diseases
Neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s and dementia have a strong link to chronic inflammation in the brain, resulting in accumulation of certain proteins that damage neurons. The end result is accelerated aging and mental decline. Garlic supplementation has been shown to increase the levels of anti-oxidant enzymes produced by the liver, helping to buffer the action of free radicals and reduce inflammation. This, coupled with reductions to blood pressure and cholesterol offer fair support against these diseases.
5. Remove Heavy Metal Toxins From The Body
Heavy metals are extremely toxic, and have a way of embedding themselves in deep fat layers and in organ tissue. This is very troublesome, as it can cause a host of untoward effects, ranging from cancer to organ failure and more. Garlic can help to chelate these heavy metals and promote their excretion by the body. If your job entails risk exposure, or you consume a lot of fish and seafood, garlic is the way to go.
6. Beneficial Effect On Bone Tissue
While garlic does have decent amounts of the minerals necessary for bone health, this is not its primary mechanism in promoting bone health. Rather, that is due to garlic’s pseudo-estrogen like effect on bone tissue, as was observed on post-menopausal women. Though more studies need to be performed to confirm its efficacy on preserving bone, it can’t hurt your to eat more of it in an effort to support your bone health.
7. Help Optimize Microflora Cultures
Our digestive system is host to a range of good and possibly pathogenic bacteria, which can cause negative effects when given the change. However, garlic can help to keep cultures of the “bad” bacteria where they should be, thanks to its antibacterial properties. Interestingly, it does not seem to negatively affect probiotic bacteria in a manner like powerful prescription anti-biotics would.
8. Prevention Of Blood Clots
Blood clotting is intimately balanced to ensure that blood neither clots too much, or not enough. While both ends of the spectrum are bad, excessive clotting is particularly troublesome as it can lead to heart attacks and strokes without you ever knowing. You could be sitting fine one second, then a clot dislodges from its place of origin and travels to the brain or lungs and blocks an important small artery. Garlic consumption reduces the risk of experiencing a thromboembolic event, so try and consume or supplement with more garlic.
9. Help Treat Yeast Infections
Garlic can help reduce the occurrence of vaginal yeast infections in women who tend to experience them frequently, such as diabetics with poor blood glucose control. Garlic has anti-fungal properties that inhibits the growth of fungi.
10. Can Reduce Asthma Episodes
Asthma is a disease that has an immune component which increases the occurrence of hypersensitivity responses. Thus, asthmatics may find themselves more likely to have allergies or chronic rhinitis. Consumption of garlic has been associated with reduced hypersensitivity to environmental stimuli, helping reduce occurrence of asthma attacks.
11. Beneficial To The Eyes
While most other foods offer eye benefits due to their anti-oxidant content, garlic does things a little differently. For one, garlic helps reduce intraocular pressure, a popular contributing factor for glaucoma, and also suppresses organisms that may cause keratitis (infection of the cornea). Garlic can also offset the effects of heavy metal exposure on the eyes, preventing death of retinal cells of the eyes.
12. Garlic Is Good For Your Liver
Garlic assists the liver with production of enzymes necessary for detoxification, which is an excellent start, but that’s not all. Many people suffer from fatty liver disease, being triggered by alcohol or excessive abdominal fat and metabolic dysfunction. Garlic is good for remedying non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, helping the organ to function optimally once more.
13. Can Help Treat Eczema
While eczema can have a broad range of causes, there appears to be one strong underlying similarity; immune dysfunction. This can be in the form of abnormal white blood cell function, suppression leading to increased infection or another disease with genetic lineage such as asthma. Eczema occurs more often in these individuals, and can be a very uncomfortable and annoying condition. Garlic consumption can reduce the frequency of rash eruption, promote healing and minimize the histamine response that causes you to itch. Adding it to your diet is a worthwhile move.
Garlic is an invaluable herb with a ton of health benefits for you to take advantage of. It has a solid nutritional profile as well, even though you are unlikely to eat a large portion at any one time. Try to include it in as many foods as you can, and supplement with an aged garlic supplement for extra boost.