Garlic is a beloved ingredient for cooking. Its pungent aroma and flavorful taste can be used to make so many meals taste amazing. However, did you know that there’s more to garlic than just its incredible flavor?
A member of the Allium family, garlic is a close relative of shallots, leeks, and onions. In modern times, it is most commonly used as an ingredient for cooking; however, throughout ancient history, it was used primarily for its medicinal properties. Documents prove that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Chinese, Romans, and Babylonians used garlic to treat a variety of ailments. Why? – Because it contains allicin, a special compound that has been found to have extraordinary medicinal properties.
When a clove of garlic is crushed, chopped or chewed, allicin is released. This compound passes through the digestive tract and makes its way through the entire body. As it does, it wields highly potent biological effects. These effects can ease, cure, or prevent a variety of ailments, making garlic a truly magical medicinal plant.
If you love the taste of garlic, you are going to be thrilled to find out what kind of benefits it can offer you. If garlic isn’t something you are particularly fond of, you might change your mind after you find out the incredible health benefits it can offer.
Here’s a look at 21 of the most incredible health benefits that garlic can provide.
1. Aids in weight loss
If you are trying to shed a few pounds, you might want to add more garlic to your diet. Studies have found that garlic could be a powerful way to reduce weight gain and shed unwanted fat. In one study, a group of lab mice was fed a highly fattening diet for a period of eight weeks. The mice were fed the same diet, but the garlic was mixed into it. At the end of the study, researchers found that the addition of garlic actually reduced the mice’s ability to store fat, and thus, the lost weight. This study implies that humans who are looking to lose weight could also benefit from eating more garlic.
2. Improved athletic performance
If you want to step up your game, you should also look into eating more garlic. When you eat garlic, your arteries and veins actually widen (a process known as vasodilation.) When this happens, higher amounts of blood are able to flow through the blood. As a result, more oxygen will be delivered throughout your body, including your lungs and other key areas that are used while exercising.
Additionally, more glucose and nutrients will be delivered throughout the body. This, in turn, means that you will likely see an increase in your athletic performance, as your stamina will increase.
3. More brainpower
Most people don’t think of garlic as brain food, but it is! Just like garlic can enhance your athletic performance as it increases blood flow throughout the body, it can also improve the function of your brain.
That’s because your brain is one of the many organs that will be receiving more blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients when you eat this flavorful ingredient. When the brain receives more energy, it functions better. In fact, some studies indicate that consuming garlic can increase your IQ!
4. Better energy levels
If you find that you have low energy levels and are constantly dragging, garlic may be just what you need to get the energy boost you are looking for. Since garlic supplies the body and the brain with more blood, oxygen, and nutrients, it also stands to reason that it will increase your energy levels, thus boosting your alertness.
Try adding some garlic into an omelet or crushing some up into a smoothie for breakfast. You might see a marked improvement in your energy levels throughout the day.
5. Antibacterial properties
The allicin found in garlic makes gives the food incredible antibacterial properties. As a matter of fact, many proponents of homeopathic remedies hail garlic as nature’s antibiotic.
Several studies have found that allicin has the ability to fight off bacteria, including some that are resistant to synthetic drugs, such as MRSA. If you want to increase improve your immune system and better equip it to fight off bacterial infections, you might want to start eating more garlic.
6. Cancer prevention
Some studies have indicated that garlic may have the ability to prevent certain types of cancer. This is due to the fact that garlic contains both vitamin B6 and allyl sulfides, which have been found to prevent cancer.
Additionally, the sulfur compounds in this food have also been found to shield the body from cancer. Regularly consuming garlic has been found to decrease the risk of prostate, lung, rectal, colon, and brain cancer. Though it may not completely shield you from the disease, it is certainly worth the try.
7. Reduced heart disease
If heart disease runs in your family, you should make garlic a regular part of your diet. Garlic is comprised of molecules that contain sulfur, which can help to expand the arteries and veins, thereby increasing blood flow to the heart.
It also has anti-clotting properties, which have been found to prevent the formation of blood clots in the blood vessels. Additionally, garlic helps to maintain the elasticity of the arteries. So, if you want to reduce your risk for heart disease, consider eating more garlic.
8. Treats respiratory conditions
If you are suffering from bronchitis or any other condition that has affected your respiratory system, garlic could be a cure for your ailment. The anti-microbial properties found in garlic make it an excellent remedy for various respiratory infections.
In addition, it has antibacterial properties, which could help to soothe a sore, irritated throat that is often associated with respiratory illnesses. On top of that, it boosts the immune system, thereby improving your body’s ability to fight off infections more easily.
9. Treats infections of the gums
Believe it or not, garlic is commonly recommended as a way to treat infections of the gums. The antifungal and antibacterial properties of garlic can help to combat these infections, thereby reducing your pain and curing the problem. To use garlic for gum infections, all you have to do is crush, add a little water and mix together until a paste is formed.
Apply a small amount of the garlic paste to the infection and allow it to sit for a few minutes. You should experience some relief from the pain caused by the infection. Do this twice a day for a few days and the infection should be cured.
10. Flu relief
The symptoms associated with the flu can be very uncomfortable. If you contract the flu, garlic could reduce your recovery time. The antibacterial properties in garlic can help to combat viruses, including the flu.
Try steeping crushed garlic in boiling water to make a tea and drink it down when you have the flu to alleviate your symptoms. It could also prevent you from catching the flu in the first place; just add more garlic to your diet during flu season and you may not get it at all!