Yes, garlic has a rather powerful aroma that tends to seep out of our pores after we eat it. This is one of the main reasons why many people shy away from this super-potent herb-like vegetable. But, what you might not know is that garlic is, by all rights, a superfood with powerful health-promoting compounds, mainly the organic sulfur compound allicin.
Let’s take a closer look at this pungent member of the onion family and just what it can do for you.
Garlic tackles sickness like a pro
Garlic is known to boost the function of the immune system, especially when taken in supplement form. In one large study of 146 participants, it was found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared to a placebo. In addition, the average length of cold symptoms was reduced by 70% from 5 days in the placebo group to 1.5 days in the group that took the garlic supplement. Another study found garlic extract taken in high doses reduced the number of sick days with a cold or flu by 61%.
Garlic contains powerful compounds that can reduce blood pressure
Cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes, are the world’s biggest killers. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the biggest drivers of these events. Studies conducted on humans show that garlic supplements have a major impact on reducing blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. In one study, it was found that 600-1500 mg of garlic taken over a 24 week period was just as effective as the popular drug Atenolol at reducing blood pressure. The amount of fresh garlic needed daily to reach the desired impact would be about four cloves daily.
Garlic may protect you from dementia and Alzheimer’s
Free radicals in the body contribute to the aging process. Garlic is rich in antioxidants that protect us from oxidative stress and damage that is thought to contribute to conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. High amounts of garlic supplements have been found to increase antioxidant enzymes in humans and reduce oxidative stress in persons with high blood pressure. Garlic reduces cholesterol, blood pressure and has powerful antioxidant properties, which are thought to work synergistically to reduce the risk of brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Garlic can improve your athletic performance
Olympic athletes in ancient Greece used garlic for enhancing athletic performance. If you are looking for an extra workout boost, consider garlic. Research in people with heart disease who took garlic oil for six weeks had a 12% reduction in peak heart rate as well as better exercise capacity. Other research indicates that fatigue related to exercise may be reduced with garlic.
Garlic may help detoxify heavy metals from your body
High doses of garlic have been shown to reduce organ damage from heavy metal contamination. Employees who worked at a car battery plant, where they had a great deal of exposure to lead, participated in a four-week study. At the end of the study, it was found that garlic reduced levels of lead in the blood by 19%. In addition, garlic was found to reduce several of the clinical signs of toxicity, including headaches and elevated blood pressure. Interestingly enough, three does of garlic daily outperformed the drug D-penicillamine in the reduction of symptoms.
Garlic may improve bone density
In a study of menopausal women, a daily dose of dry garlic extract (which equals 2 grams of raw garlic) had a significant decrease in a marker of estrogen deficiency. Additional studies have found that foods, including garlic and onions, may have a positive impact on the effects of osteoarthritis.
How to eat more garlic daily
Although many people are reluctant to add more garlic to their diet, because of its known ability to increase breath odor, it is easy to do and something that is worth any odor it may produce.
Garlic is a perfect addition to soups, sauces, and other savory dishes. Known for its ability to zip up any dish, garlic comes in several different forms, making it easy to use in the kitchen. Choose from whole cloves, pastes, powders, extracts, and oils. Mixing a few pressed coles of garlic with extra virgin olive oil, Italian seasoning, and sea salt makes a delicious dressing. Add some garlic to your morning eggs or your favorite rice or pasta dish. Any way that you can get it – more garlic can be incredibly beneficial.
Note: If you have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood-thinning medication, speak to your physician before increasing your garlic intake.
-The UpWellness Team