Garlic is good for a lot more than just keeping the vampires aware. It’s also anti-microbial, immune-boosting and heart protective. You can get the health benefits of garlic by eating more or taking supplements. Raw is definitely best if you’re adding it to your diet, but cooking it will still maintain some of the benefits.
Nutritional Benefits of Garlic
Despite its potent smell, garlic packs a nutritional punch. Just a single clove contains 2% of your daily value of vitamin C and 1% of your daily value of selenium. But garlic also contains flavonoids, oligosaccharides, amino acids and sulfur compounds – the most important of which is alliin.
5 Health Benefits of Garlic
Though more research is needed, the potential health benefits of garlic and its sulfur content may help to prevent and treat chronic diseases like heart disease and certain forms of cancer.
1. Fight the common cold
Garlic is one of nature’s best antibiotics. It’s rich in sulphur compound including alliin, which converts to allicin. These sulfur compounds excel at destroying a large number of micro-organisms that can contribute to colds, flus and other infections. In order to get the health benefits of garlic when you’re sick, a raw clove is best.
2. Reduce blood pressure
Studies have shown that eating more garlic can help to reduce high blood pressure2. Though more research is needed, it appears to be the result of a high level of sulfur compounds found in garlic. Allicin is one of those key compounds.
You can increase the amount of allicin in a clove of garlic but cutting or crushing it and allowing it to sit for 10 minutes. What happens is the alliin compound in garlic is converted by an enzyme called alliinase to the stronger more potent version allicin. This also helps to make the sulfur compound more stable through cooking.
3. Lower cholesterol levels
Beyond blood pressure, the health benefits of garlic go one step further when it comes to heart health. It also helps moderately lower our blood triglycerides and total cholesterol. Garlic’s potent sulfur compounds can also help to prevent inflammation and oxidative stress that can damage blood vessels.
4. Combat candida
The same anti-microbial benefits in garlic that help to fight the common cold are also effective against candida overgrowth. Candida is a natural form of yeast found in the gut, that can become problematic if it grows out of control. In order to restore balance in the gut, anti-microbial are needed to destroy some of the candida albicans – and garlic does just that.
5. Protect against dementia
Garlic’s wealth of sulfuric compounds have antioxidant benefits that help to protect the brain against inflammation and oxidative stress – both of which play a key role in dementia.
Aged garlic extract in particular contains a high concentration of the sulfur compound FruArg, which may help cells in the brain adapt stress better resulting in less damage3.
Chew on this
Including more raw garlic in your diet can be a bit of a challenge because of its pungent flavor. Try mincing it into salad dressing, or adding it to cooked dishes later on while cooking to preserve more of the health benefits of garlic.
How do you add garlic to your diet regularly? Tell us in the comments below.