Garlic is one of the most common ingredient in many cuisines across the world. In addition to its culinary use however, it also has amazing health benefits. In fact, garlic has been used since ancient civilizations to treat a myriad of diseases.
Modern science today has confirmed that garlic indeed possesses health benefits for its users. The physical appearance of garlic is as follows: the full head is referred to as a bulb. The constituent pieces that make up the bulb are known as cloves. One bulb will usually contain about 10 cloves, all of which vary in size.
Listed below are 10 key advantages of adding garlic to your daily diet:
1. It Has a Lot of Antimicrobial Properties
As part of the onion family, it is best known for the presence of its active ingredient known as Allicin, the most potent compound in the garlic. This compound is sulfur-based, and is responsible for the characteristic smell of garlic. Allicin is released when the garlic is chopped or chewed. When ingested, the allicin is absorbed from the digestive system from where it is able to take effect on the different parts of the body. Some of the properties that have made garlic a choice home remedy include its anti-oxidant, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. This explains why it is most potent when minced, pounded or chewed.
2. It Helps Prevent Clot-Formation in The Body
The active compounds present in garlic have anti-coagulant properties. This means that the ingestion of garlic thins blood and prevents it from clotting in the body. These properties have led scientists to recommend garlic for patients suffering from heart disease as well as those who are predisposed to diseases of the blood. To enjoy the blood thinning benefits, take one clove of garlic (minced) at least once daily, preferably before taking any meals.
3. It Helps Protect Your Heart From Disease
In line with its anticoagulant properties, garlic’s antioxidant properties help get rid of free oxygen radicals that can easily hamper the proper functioning of the heart. Additionally, the sulfur-based compounds present in the cloves have been shown to reduce a type of cholesterol known as Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), or simply the ‘bad’ type of cholesterol.
LDL often collects on the walls of the blood vessels leading to and from the heart, placing you at risk of a condition known as atherosclerosis. This condition refers to the accumulation of the ‘bad’ cholesterol in the arteries, thus creating hardened arteries with a narrow lumen. By lowering the levels of LDL in the body, garlic has the ability to reduce the risk of heart disease.
4. It Can Help Your Body Detoxify
The advent of different industries globally has placed more people at risk of toxicity from heavy metals. Perhaps one of the most common causes of heavy metal toxicity is working in battery plants. Such employees are constantly exposed to lead, and this has detrimental effects on their organs.
A study in which employees of such a company were treated to garlic intake showed positive results with the research work showing that the levels of lead in the employees studied had dropped by about 20%. In addition, the four-week long study also indicated less severity in the symptoms associated with lead toxicity. Overall, garlic has been shown to be potentially useful in dealing with toxicity following exposure to heavy metals.
5. It is an Effective Home Remedy Against a Number of Common Illnesses
This health benefit can be attributed to garlic’s ability to boost your immune response. It is for this reason that it is recommended for the home treatment of common illnesses such as the flu and the common cold. As a matter of fact, daily intake of garlic can help decrease the frequency of common cold while soothing infections of the throat. Garlic also enhances the act of expectorating, making it a valuable inclusion in the treatment of respiratory tract infections. If you find yourself prone to any of these illnesses, make sure you add garlic to your daily diet.
6. It Plays a Key Role in Regulating The Levels of Blood Sugar
Fluctuations in blood sugar levels have the capacity to create havoc in the body, and potentially lead to diabetes. Garlic plays an important role in the regulation of blood sugars as it promotes the production of insulin from the pancreas. In addition to this, it also improves insulin sensitivity, which in turn helps keep your sugar levels in check. This makes it effective especially for those suffering from diabetes.
7. It Works Wonders For Treating Toothaches
The antibacterial properties help alleviate pain arising from toothaches. This home remedy also has analgesic properties that help relieve the pain. Other dental problems for which garlic is an ideal remedy include abscessed teeth and infected gums. To make the most of it, when you have a toothache, simply peel a garlic clove and proceed to chew on it, preferably close to the aching tooth or the part of the gum that is infected. Alternatively, mince the garlic and scoop some of it before placing it on the affected tooth.
8. It is Potentially Beneficial For Weight Loss
Research done in recent times has indicated that garlic may be beneficial to those struggling to lose weight. This health benefit has been underpinned by it’s ability to balance the formation of fat cells (adipocytes) in the body. For many individuals struggling to lose weight, the ability to prevent the conversion of pre-adipocytes to adipocytes is good news and reason enough to add garlic to your diet. As far as calorie intake is concerned, it is surprisingly a low caloric food, yet amazingly nutritious. It contains the following nourishing compounds: fiber, selenium, manganese as well as Vitamins B6 and C.
9. It Can Boost Your Sex Life
Garlic’s tiny cloves are packed with the very ingredients you need to give your sex life a boost! By enhancing circulation of the blood to the penis during intercourse, it helps improve vitality and enhances sensuality. A number of studies have shown garlic’s capacity to improve sexual function in males. Men suffering from erectile dysfunction may find garlic intake to be helpful.
10. It Can Help Treat Infections of The Skin
Due to its anti-fungal properties, garlic is an effective remedy in the treatment of skin infections. This health benefit is attributed to the presence of a chemical compound known as Ajoene. Some of the conditions for which it has been shown to be effective include the treatment of athlete’s foot and ringworm.
For skin infections, the best way is to mince it, and then apply the pulp-like substance on the affected part of the skin. Let it sit on the skin for a couple of minutes before rinsing with warm water.
For all its health benefits, there is no reason not to incorporate it in your diet. Remember, these benefits are best achieved when the garlic is crushed to release its active ingredients.