Amazing Garlic Health Benefits. Garlic, botanically known as Allium sativum, is not just a common kitchen ingredient but is also revered for its powerful health benefits. It has been utilized both as a culinary delight and a natural medicine for over 2,500 years. Here, we look into the numerous health advantages of this natural powerhouse and provide some simple ways to incorporate it into your daily routine.
Nutritional Profile of Garlic
This nutrient profile makes garlic a low-calorie source of various vitamins and minerals. It’s also worth noting that garlic supplements may provide different amounts and profiles of these nutrients. Always ensure you’re consuming garlic as part of a balanced diet and considering its potential interaction with medications and its effect on conditions like acid reflux. If in doubt, always consult with a healthcare professional.
Macronutrients (per 100 grams):
- Calories: 149
- Protein: 6.36 g
- Total Fat: 0.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 33.06 g
- Dietary Fiber: 2.1 g
- Sugars: 1 g
- Vitamin C: 31.2 mg (52% DV)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 1.235 mg (95% DV)
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0.2 mg (17% DV)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.11 mg (8% DV)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 0.7 mg (4% DV)
- Folate: 3 μg (1% DV)
- Manganese: 1.672 mg (73% DV)
- Calcium: 181 mg (18% DV)
- Iron: 1.7 mg (21% DV)
- Magnesium: 25 mg (6% DV)
- Phosphorus: 153 mg (22% DV)
- Potassium: 401 mg (9% DV)
- Zinc: 1.16 mg (10% DV)
- Copper: 0.3 mg (13% DV)
- Selenium: 14.2 μg (26% DV)
- Allicin: When garlic is crushed or chopped, an enzyme called alliinase is released which interacts with the compound alliin, converting it into allicin. Allicin is responsible for the distinct garlic smell and has powerful antimicrobial properties.
- Diallyl disulfide and S-allyl cysteine: These sulfur-containing compounds in garlic have been studied for their potential benefits in heart health, cancer prevention, and more.
- Quercetin: A flavonoid antioxidant present in garlic that has various health benefits.
- Saponins, phytosterols, and polyphenols: These compounds also contribute to the health benefits of garlic.
Garlic is a versatile ingredient that enhances the flavor profile of many dishes. Here are 6 Amazing Garlic Health Benefits.
1. Improving Blood Flow
One of the primary benefits of garlic is its capacity to enhance blood flow, ensuring oxygen and nutrients reach every cell in your body. Thanks to its sulfur compounds like azureine and allicin, garlic acts as a natural ACE inhibitor, aiding in blood pressure regulation. This not only protects your arteries but also bolsters the heart’s pumping action. In fact, consuming garlic can be as effective as some standard blood pressure medications but without their side effects. Moreover, garlic has the potential to dissolve dangerous blood clots, reducing risks associated with thrombosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
2. Healing Sinus Infections
Garlic stands out as a formidable foe against infections, especially in the nose, throat, sinuses, and ears, owing to its anti-fungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. It’s a proven remedy to combat congestion, sinus infections, and even ear infections.
3. Clearing Pimples and Acne
Garlic addresses hormonal imbalances that lead to acne by providing essential sulfur which helps in balancing these hormones. Additionally, a combination of garlic and aloe vera can soothe skin inflammations and address existing acne and pimples.
4. Supporting Your Digestion
Hippocrates once said, “All disease begins in the gut.” Garlic aids digestion by stimulating the release of digestive juices, making it especially beneficial for those suffering from gas and bloating. It’s also potent against H. pylori, a bacterium linked to gastritis and ulcers, and helps in detoxifying the body.
5. Boosting Energy
Ditch those energy drinks loaded with caffeine and turn to garlic for a natural energy boost. A concoction of garlic, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and honey can boost your nitric oxide production, enhancing blood flow to your brain, improving mental focus, and raising energy levels.
6. Promoting Hair Growth
Garlic can combat patterned hair loss or androgenetic alopecia. Its natural chemicals, including allicin and quercetin, block the hormone DHT which is responsible for hair loss. Regularly applying a mix of garlic and red onion to the scalp can boost hair growth.
Other Ways to Use Garlic:
- Supplementation: If you’re not a fan of garlic’s taste, consider a daily dose of 2400 mg of aged garlic extract for heart health.
- Salad Dressing: A delicious dressing featuring garlic, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard can elevate your salad experience.
- Roasted Garlic Soup: A heartwarming soup made of roasted garlic, onions, thyme, and vegetable stock is not only tasty but also packed with nutrients.
- Garlic and Ginger Paste: A blend of garlic and ginger serves as an excellent base for homemade curries and stir-fries.
Precautions and Side Effects:
It’s crucial to remember that while garlic is beneficial for humans, it’s harmful to pets like cats and dogs. Moreover, excessive garlic consumption can cause bad breath and aggravate conditions like acid reflux. If on medications, especially blood thinners, consult your doctor before consuming large quantities of garlic.
Remember, the shelf life of garlic can be decreased once the head has been broken, so it’s a good idea to only break off cloves from the bulb as you need them.
Garlic is truly a gem in the realm of natural remedies. Its myriad benefits, from improving cardiovascular health to boosting energy and enhancing skin health, make it indispensable. Remember to consult your doctor regarding any medical concerns and enjoy the bountiful benefits this ancient herb offers.