Garlic benefits to health have a lot. Garlic is a food that many people either love or hate. Its strong, pungent flavor lends itself to several types of savory dishes, and garlic is used in traditional cuisines worldwide. Garlic has been used to treat illness and disease for thousands of years. There are biblical references to the use of garlic in medicine. According to some sources, Hippocrates prescribed garlic for various illnesses, and early Olympic athletes used garlic to enhance performance. The benefits are mainly due to plant compounds, but garlic does contain several vitamins and minerals as well.
Health Benefits of Garlic
The potential therapeutic benefits of garlic primarily come from its bioactive compounds, including organic sulfides, saponins, phenolic compounds, and polysaccharides.
May Aid Weight Loss
Garlic can support your healthy eating or weight loss program. Because it is so flavorful, a tiny amount can add a delicious savory flavor to your food without providing any fat or significant calories. Garlic can also be used as a replacement for salt if you are trying to cut back on sodium but still want food that has a satisfying taste.
May Reduce Inflammation
Studies have shown garlic to produce potent anti-inflammatory effects by decreasing biomarkers of inflammation. A double-blind randomized clinical trial showed a significant reduction of inflammatory cytokines with a 400 mg dose of garlic extract given twice a day for eight weeks. Keep in mind this study used an extract and may not reflect real-life consumption of garlic.
May Lower Blood Lipids
Garlic has been shown to lower serum cholesterol levels. Diabetic patients given a combination of olive oil and garlic were able to regulate cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
These effects were seen with garlic in powder or non-powdered form dosed over one to three months. After four months, the garlic consumption raised HDL (good cholesterol) and lowered LDL (bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol levels.
May Protect Against Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress due to free radicals is thought to be mitigated with antioxidant consumption. Garlic contains phenolic compounds with potent antioxidant properties. Specifically, garlic has been shown to help reduce cardiovascular risk in obese patients via increased antioxidants and reduced inflammation.
A meta-analysis of clinical trials has shown that supplementing with garlic modulates oxidative stress markers, including total antioxidant capacity.
May Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Available research shows that garlic can significantly reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, myocardial infarction, and ischemic stroke due to the nutritional and phytochemical properties it contains.
Wards Off Cough and Cold
Raw garlic has the potential to ward off cough and cold infections. Eating two crushed garlic cloves on an empty stomach has the maximum benefit. For kids and babies, hanging garlic cloves in a thread around their necks is supposed to relieve congestion symptoms.
Good for Cardiac Health
Allicin, a compound found in garlic stops the oxidizing of LDL (bad cholesterol). This reduces cholesterol levels and improves heart health. Regular consumption of garlic reduces the incidence of blood clots and thus helps prevent thromboembolism. Garlic also lowers blood pressure so is good for patients with hypertension.
Improves Brain Functioning
Garlic promotes brain health because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is effective against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Improves Skin Health
Garlic helps prevent acne and lightens acne scars. Cold sores, psoriasis, rashes, and blisters can all benefit from the application of garlic juice. It also protects against UV rays and therefore prevents aging.
Prevents Cancer and Peptic Ulcer
Because of a high amount of antioxidants, garlic protects the body against lung, prostate, bladder, stomach, liver, and colon cancer. The antibacterial action of garlic prevents peptic ulcers as it eliminates the contagion from the gut.
Fights UTI and Improves Renal Health
Fresh garlic juice has the potential to reduce the growth of E. Coli bacteria that cause urinary tract infection (UTI). It also helps prevent kidney infections. Garlic reduces infections on wounds, promotes hair growth, bone health, and liver health. Most of the home remedies are effective only if garlic is consumed raw.
Reduces Exercise Fatigue
According to studies from Japan, raw garlic when aged in a mixture of water and alcohol may have significant effects on exercise endurance. Human studies have also been conducted that have shown that garlic can indeed improve the symptoms of exercise fatigue.
Reduces Blood Toxicity
For people who are susceptible to lead poisoning due to occupational hazards, garlic may be the best organic solution. Studies conducted in 2012 have revealed that garlic is in fact, safer and better at reducing lead poisoning of the blood than d-Penicillamine, which is the common drug used to treat the same.
Overcome Oestrogen Deficiency
The period of menopause for older women has often been associated with a lack of the female hormone known as estrogen due to irregular production of a protein known as a cytokine. Consumption of garlic has been seen to regulate this to some extent and therefore, may be effective in overcoming estrogen deficiency after menopause.
Reduce Effects or Onset of Osteoarthritis
Consuming garlic in your regular diet can also help to prevent or reduce the onset of osteoarthritis. Research has shown that garlic contains a compound known as diallyl disulfide which helps to maintain bone density and therefore can potentially delay the onset of bone-related ailments like osteoarthritis.
Prevent Heart Blockages
Garlic is also believed to help reduce the stickiness of the platelets in your blood. These platelets are responsible for the clotting of blood. Consuming a healthy dose of garlic can help reduce the excessive clotting effect of platelets on the blood. Therefore, it may help prevent unnecessary blood clots inside arteries that may reach up to your heart causing a heart attack.
3g Garlic Nutrition Facts
- Calories: 4.5
- Fat: 0g
- Sodium: 0.5mg
- Carbohydrates: 1g
- Fiber: 0.1g
- Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 0.2g
- Vitamin C: 0.9mg
- Zinc: 0.04mcg
The calories in garlic come from carbohydrates, but because the serving size and calories are so low, the carbs in garlic are also very low.
There is no fat in garlic.
Garlic provides no protein.
Vitamins and Minerals
Garlic contains several vitamins and minerals, although a single clove doesn’t provide much due to the small serving size. Each clove contains a small amount of vitamin C, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin K, and manganese, according to the USDA.
A 3-gram clove of garlic provides almost no calories. You’ll only add four calories to your total intake if you consume the whole clove. Because you are likely to eat so little of the food, garlic calories are not likely to make a noticeable difference in your daily food intake.
Uses of Garlic
Homemade cough remedy
Suffering from a cold? Boil up some minced cloves of garlic and drink it like tea! You’ll find it easier to breathe and the itchiness of your throat will subside.
Garlic has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce irritation, and the allicin will kill bacteria that clog up your pores and causes breakouts. Next time you’re suffering, reach for your trusty garlic.
Treat athlete’s foot
We hope we’ve already proven just how wonderful garlic can be, but did you know you can also use it to treat athlete’s foot? Mix some olive oil and minced garlic together and using a cotton bud, apply it to the affected area. Keep applying this treatment for a while after the symptoms have gone, in order to make sure the horror has truly ended!
Whilst garlic won’t actually make the weight drop off you, it will make you feel fuller quicker. With garlic, you may just have the willpower to skip dessert after all!
Slice a garlic clove in half and tape it to the area where the splinter is with a bandage. Apparently, this will help to remove the splinter due to its antibacterial properties.
Promote hair growth
If you want to achieve fast hair growth you could try using garlic. Add it to your shampoo and use it as normal through your hair. If you fancy, you can buy garlic infusion oil which you can massage into your hair. Don’t worry about the smell – it’ll soon fade
Look after your toenails
Have your toenails turned an unfortunate shade of yellow or brown? No worries, we have just the thing. Grab a cotton bud and using garlic oil, coat your nails. Your nails should be back to their normal color within a week.
Use garlic as a dandruff treatment
Are you suffering from dandruff? Reach for the garlic! Paired with honey, you can make a really effective remedy at home. Follow the instructions from Heal With Food to make yours and rid yourself of flakes for good!
Attend to a cold sore
Cut a clove of garlic into two pieces and using one piece, hold it against your cold sore. As you can probably (and correctly) imagine, this may hurt a little – but it has strong antiseptic and antimicrobial properties to help heal your annoying cold sore.
Do we bet you didn’t know you could count garlic amongst oysters as an aphrodisiac? Garlic contains allicin which encourages blood to rush to the, er, nether regions.
Treat a yeast infection
Some claim that garlic is the best cure for a yeast infection thanks to its antibiotic qualities. To use it for a yeast infection, you can take tablets orally.
Get rid of an ear infection
Whilst we’re on the topic of infections, it’s worth mentioning that garlic can also be used to combat those present in the ear. Peel a garlic clove and cut the tip off one end. Wrap it in a small piece of gauze and then pop it just inside the ear, with the cut tip facing inwards. Hold a warm, clean cloth over your ear and wait until the pain subsides.
If you’ve found yourself the target of a swarm of mosquitos, it’s time to act! Some believe that garlic can help get rid of bugs, and we think it’s worth a go. Grab an unpeeled clove and rub it all over your skin. The mozzies will hate the stench and keep away from you… as might all your friends too.
Make garlic glue
If you’ve ever finely chopped garlic, you’ll know how sticky it can be (and how difficult it is to get it off your fingers!) If you’ve got an envelope that is no longer sticky, crush a garlic clove and rub the juices onto the seal. Hey presto – the envelope will stick.
Speaking of using garlic as glue, said glue can be used to repair the glass. Rub garlic juice carefully along hairlines cracks to reseal them – simple!
DIY surface cleaner
Here’s another pretty surprising use for your garlic – make a surface cleaner! Chop up 3-4 cloves of garlic, toss them in a spray bottle, and pour in some white wine vinegar. Add some lemon oil to make it smell lovely and then use it as a disinfectant spray – easy!
Make garlic chocolate truffles
If you’re a lover of chocolate and a lover of garlic, why not try to combine the two and make some unusual truffles? If you fancy trying your hand at this then visit Garlic Matters for the recipe.
Garlic Side Effects
Bad for liver
The liver is a vital organ of our body as it performs various functions like blood purification, fat metabolism, protein metabolism, and removing ammonia from our body. According to several studies, it is found that garlic is loaded with a compound called allicin, which can cause liver toxicity if taken in large quantities.
Consuming garlic on an empty stomach can cause diarrhea. Garlic has gas-forming compounds like sulfur that play an important role in triggering diarrhea.
Nausea, vomiting, and heartburn
According to a report published by the National Cancer Institute of the U.S, consuming fresh garlic on an empty stomach could lead to heartburn, nausea, and vomiting. As per a report published by the Harvard Medical School, garlic contains certain compounds that can cause GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Garlic can lead to bad breath if consumed in excess. The main reason for the cause of bad breath is the sulfur compound present in it.
Garlic is a natural blood thinner, so we shouldn’t consume large quantities of garlic along with blood-thinning medicines like warfarin, aspirin, etc. This is because the combined effect of blood-thinning medication and garlic is dangerous, and it may increase the risk of internal bleeding.
Not good for pregnant and nursing women
Pregnant women or lactating mothers should avoid eating garlic during this period as it may induce labor in pregnant women. Nursing mothers should avoid it as it alters the taste of milk.
According to experts, eating garlic in excess may lower blood pressure and lead to several related symptoms.
In various clinical studies, consuming garlic for a prolonged time may lead to excessive sweating.
Aggravates vaginal infection
Avoid eating garlic for treating vaginal yeast infection as it can aggravate the yeast infection by irritating the tender tissues of the vagina.
Might cause vision changes
Overdose of garlic can cause hyphema, a condition that causes bleeding inside the anterior chamber of the eye (space between the iris and the cornea). This condition can cause loss of vision.