Garlic is a plant in the Allium (onion) family. It is closely related to onions, shallots, and leeks. It grows in many parts of the world and is a popular ingredient in cooking due to its strong smell and delicious taste. However, throughout ancient history, the main use of garlic was for its health and medicinal properties. Its use was well documented by all the major civilizations… including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and the Chinese. The entire “head” is called a garlic bulb, while each segment is called a clove.
There are about 10-20 cloves in a single bulb, give or take. We now know that most of the health effects are caused by one of the sulfur compounds formed when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed or chewed. This compound is known as allicin and is also responsible for the distinct garlic smell. There is something irresistible about the aroma of roasted garlic. It is so captivating with its powerful notes, that it has long been used as a flavor booster in curries, stir-fries, pizza toppings, pasta, meat preparations, dips – you name it! It has the power to instantly liven up any dish and treat some of the most common ailments.
Calorie for calorie, garlic is incredibly nutritious. A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of garlic contains (3):
- Manganese: 23% of the RDA
- Vitamin B6: 17% of the RDA
- Vitamin C: 15% of the RDA
- Selenium: 6% of the RDA
- Fiber: 0.6 gram
- Decent amounts of calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B1
- Garlic also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients. In fact, it contains a little bit of almost everything we need.
This is coming with 42 calories, with 1.8 grams of protein and 9 grams of carbs. Read on to unravel some surprising garlic benefits
2.For Skin and Hair
The invigorating properties of garlic protect the skin from the effect of free radicals and slow down the depletion of collagen which leads to loss of elasticity in aging skin. Applied topically, garlic does wonders to skin infected with fungal infections and provides relief from skin ailments like eczema. It is also an effective remedy for fungal infections like athlete’s foot and ringworm.
3.Anti-bacterial and Anti-parasitic
4.Reduces blood pressure
Cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes are the world’s biggest killers. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most important drivers of these diseases. Human studies have found garlic supplementation to have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. In one study, aged garlic extract at doses of 600-1,500 mg was just as effective as the drug Atenolol at reducing blood pressure over a 24 week period. Supplement doses must be fairly high to have these desired effects. The amount of allicin needed is equivalent to about four cloves of garlic per day.
5.Cold and Flu
7.Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Oxidative damage from free radicals contributes to the aging process. Garlic contains antioxidants that support the body’s protective mechanisms against oxidative damage. High doses of garlic supplements have been shown to increase antioxidant enzymes in humans, as well as significantly reduce oxidative stress in those with high blood pressure. The combined effects on reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as the antioxidant properties, may help prevent common brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Many of garlic’s astounding uses were forgotten in the folds of time but users (and believers) still vouch for the lesser-known benefits. One of them is against stubborn splinters. Place a piece of cut garlic over the splinter cut and cover with a bandage- and voila! Bye-bye splinter.
9. Live Longer
Effects on longevity are basically impossible to prove in humans. But given the beneficial effects on important risk factors like blood pressure, it makes sense that garlic could help you live longer. The fact that it can fight infectious disease is also an important factor, because these are common causes of death, especially in the elderly or people with dysfunctional immune systems.
10. Could help in arthritis and bone diseases
No human trials have measured the effects of garlic on bone loss. However, rodent studies have shown that it can minimize bone loss by increasing estrogen in females. One study in menopausal women found that a daily dose of dry garlic extract (equal to 2 grams of raw garlic) significantly decreased a marker of estrogen deficiency. This suggests that this garlic may have beneficial effects on bone health in women. Foods like garlic and onions have also been shown to have beneficial effects on osteoarthritis.