Garlic, an odoriferous herb has been known to mankind since ancient times. Romans, Greeks, Egyptians and Chinese lavishly indulged their taste buds in its bounteously beneficial bulbs.
Belonging to the onion family garlic is a precious reserve of rich antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral properties, guarding your body against infections and providing effective cure to several maladies.
Garlic – The Miraculous Odiferous Herb
That eating garlic is good for health has been a common household knowledge for years, but it is only in recent that scientists have uncovered its mystery.
Their studies have unravelled the high presence of hydrogen sulfide as the factor responsible for the herb’s miraculous medicinal benefits.
Garlic’s Rich Chemical Profile
Garlic is famed for emitting a pungent smell. But where exactly does the smell come from?
Scientists tell us that it is from – allicin, the same sulphur compound that also imparts it with medicinal goodness that cures heart ailments, cancer and a host of other diseases.
According to a report published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, US Allicin boosts the body’s natural supply of hydrogen sulfide. In turn, reducing quantities of unhealthy fats and eliminating cholesterol from the body.
It also enhances the body’s ability to produce antioxidants and transmits cellular signals to cause blood vessels to relax and increase blood circulation.
Garlic Health Benefits
Garlic was considered a divine herb by the Greeks. It is said that the Greeks had their athlete mouth raw garlic before they went for the Olympic events.
Modern-day scientists and health experts, based on the findings of their experiments conducted also believe in garlic to be an elixir.
Many diseases, they claim, can be prevented and cured by the consumption of the herb. Besides keeping us healthy, garlic can work yield wondrous effects on the following diseases:
1. Garlic for Heart Ailments
In a recent study done by the University of Alabama, researchers found the positive impact of garlic on our blood. On mixing garlic juice to a sample of human blood, they found the red cells readily producing a substantial quantity of hydrogen sulfide.
The compound acts as a preventive agent and treatment of ailments related to the heart. Other than that, it also successfully addresses the metabolic issues of the body such as hyperglycemia, thrombosis, atherosclerosis and hypertension.
Garlic is known to reverse plaque build-up and in the process alleviate early heart disease symptoms. Countries such as France and Italy where lots of raw garlic is eaten have substantially lower rates of heart diseases than in the UK.
2. Garlic Combats Cancer
Garlic’s power to boost allicin in the body is associated with its ability to fight different types of cancers, like breast, prostate and colon cancer.
A high intake of garlic reduces the risk of cancers related to oesophagus, colon, stomach, pancreas and breast.
Garlic has high quantities of anti-bacterial substances which ward off cancer-causing substances. Garlic-eating cancer sufferers too could benefit a great deal from preventing their symptoms from aggravating.
3. Garlic Alleviates High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is a common affliction in modern-day society. The good news is that you don’t have to rely solely on medication in order to bring down your blood pressure levels.
Health experts have discovered a link between consumption of aged garlic and reduced blood pressure levels.
Taking about four capsules a day has dropped blood pressure levels in people with uncontrolled hypertension. A similar positive result could not be found with the intake of regular medication.
4. Garlic Cures Colds and Infections
Garlic is a brilliant remedy for those with persistent common infection as it has a remarkable potential to destroy millions of harmful microorganisms in our body.
One could get rid of the common cold by consuming raw garlic with warm water every day. Including garlic in one’s diet in a regular way can help in the prevention of various infection-based diseases.
The herb has antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties to keep all kinds of infections at bay.
5. Garlic Improves Insulin Sensitivity
A preliminary study published in the Nutrition & Metabolism journal in 2011 concluded that eating of raw garlic helps in increasing insulin sensitivity in our bodies.
Diabetes, especially the Type 2 is caused when the insulin level drops. Garlic regulates blood sugar levels in our body, hence halting or decreasing effects emerging out of diabetes complications.
5. Garlic Has An Anti-inflammatory Effect
A health article published by Food and Chemical Toxicology in August 2013 revealed that raw garlic is highly beneficial for those suffering from inflammatory conditions.
Again, it is allicin that provides our bodies with anti-inflammatory effects, both preventive and curative.
However, medical and health experts suggest patients consume raw garlic instead of the cooked form. Cooking destroys much of the healthy enzymes found in the garlic cloves.
6. Garlic Has Anti-Aging Benefits
The high presence of hydrogen sulfide in garlic retards the process of hardening of the arteries. As a result, our blood circulation is well-maintained, making our skin look less aged with time.
Allicin in garlic thus reduces wrinkles, too. The Vitamin C content in garlic creates healthy collagen that keeps our skin glowing.
For Best Results, Use Garlic Raw
Garlic, when eaten raw yields maximum health benefits. Cooking destroys the allicin found in the herb.
Health experts also suggest that we allow crushed garlic to sit for at least 15 minutes before use, for it to adequately release its enzymes.
You could add a dash of raw garlic to flavour your soups, pasta and even put some minced stuff in cheese sandwiches.
Growing garlic in your garden is a good idea too, for doing so will help you acquire its equally beneficial green leaves too.
All that you need to do is stick in some cloves in the fall and dig for their harvest in the summer.
Cloves To Love!
After having discovered the diverse health benefits of garlic, you wouldn’t want your diet to be without it.
So, now whenever you see the purplish-white garlic bulbs in the market don’t shun them, nor allow them to wither away in your kitchen after their purchase.
Get going with garlic and gain its goodness. Just peel the cloves, and, chop, mince or pound and to your culinary preparation add a pinch of their pungent flavour.
Wait no longer, fall in love with garlic. And, experience the bliss of wellness and good health!
About the author:
Mitravinda is a Nutritionist at DietChart with a doctoral degree in Food Science and Nutrition. She is a teacher, researcher and author. Her passion for the subject prompted her to start writing blogs on various nutrition-related topics such as Health Benefits of Green Tea, Diet Chart For Weight Loss, Health Benefits Of Green Tea, etc. Through her blogs, she wishes to help people gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between food, nutrition, lifestyle and health.