5 Impressive Health Benefits of Garlic
Garlic is a superfood that contains phytochemicals such as allicin and organosulfur compounds which are known to be responsible for the plant’s heart-healthy, immune-supportive, anti-inflammatory, and nutritional properties.
But scientific backing for many of these benefits is based on studies involving supplements and extracts, which might provide doses higher than you’d get from food. But long-term consumption of garlic daily might also lead to positive outcomes at lower doses.
If you are interested in taking a supplement, consider talking to your healthcare provider to make sure it’s safe for you and that it won’t interact with any medications you’re currently taking, especially if you have chronic health conditions or are making adjustments to your diet that might affect how well one of your drugs works.
Consider loading up the garlic in hummus, pesto, pasta, sauces, soups, stir-fries, and roasted vegetables and you will get these benefits:
1. Improved immune system
Today, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we all want to boost our immune systems and stay healthy. So, this is a great reason to add garlic to your dinner tonight. Although there’s not enough evidence to suggest that garlic will prevent or treat the common cold, it can play a role in your body’s defense mechanisms in a few ways.
The allicin contained in garlic provides antibacterial properties. Researchers also assume that garlic has antiviral properties that might work in two ways: by blocking the entry of viruses into cells, and by strengthening the immune response, making it fight potential invaders more effectively.
2. Lowered bad cholesterol
Another possible benefit of garlic for the heart is improvement in cholesterol levels. Garlic might help reduce the production of cholesterol by the liver. Though more research is needed to determine the connection between garlic intake and cholesterol levels, a meta-analysis and review of studies that was published in May 2018 in Medicine reported that taking garlic supplements was effective in lowering both total cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol levels, which are two risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
3. Lowered blood pressure
Garlic stimulates the synthesis of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels, and inhibits ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) activity. ACE inhibitors relax blood vessels. This might foster healthy blood flow and regulate blood pressure.
According to a recent review and meta-analysis published in February 2020 in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, taking Kyolic aged garlic supplements for three months reduced systolic blood pressure by about 8 points and diastolic blood pressure by 5.5 points, a similar effect to that of blood pressure drugs. If you have any vascular issues or high blood pressure, visit a vein clinic and consult a specialist before taking any supplements.
4. Reduced blood clotting
Compounds that are found in garlic have been proven to reduce the ‘stickiness’ of our platelets and have anti-clotting properties. These things might help you prevent atherosclerosis, a condition that’s characterized by plaque buildup in the arteries that leads them to harden and narrow. Atherosclerosis raises your risk for blood clots that can contribute to heart attacks and stroke.
Consuming garlic shouldn’t be the only preventive measure you take to protect your arteries. Don’t forget to follow a heart-healthy eating plan, be physically active, manage your weight, and avoid smoking.
5. Reduced inflammation
Researchers suggest that chronic inflammation is a root cause of chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. Garlic helps inhibit the activity of certain inflammatory proteins. According to a randomized, controlled, double-blind study of 70 women with rheumatoid arthritis, the group who took 1,000 milligrams of garlic supplements daily for 2 months had lower inflammatory markers, less pain, and fatigue, and fewer tender joints compared with a placebo group.