Since ancient times garlic has been used as a medicinal herb to treat a variety of health issues. Even these days, modern science has proven health benefits of garlic and its extensive use in culinary and therapeutic purposes.
Garlic belongs to the Allium family similar to onions, shallots, chives, leeks members of the same family. It contains several cloves, together which makes a bulb like structure on the whole. It has a papery cover which is the skin and needs to be discarded.
It has a strong pungent smell and strong taste due to which it is used worldwide in almost all types of cuisines. It compliments majority of dishes and can be used in various forms like soups, starters, barbeques, sauces, etc. It can be used as whole, garlic powder, oil, crushed, toasted, minced, etc. Using it in raw form is more beneficial as it retains its beneficial properties.
The health benefits of garlic is mainly due to the sulfur attributes in it called Allicin. It also possess antifungal, antibiotic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antibacterial properties.
It contains trace minerals like sulfur, selenium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron and vitamins A, C, and E.
Let us look at the ample of potential health benefits of garlic:
- Garlic is known to boost immune system because of the phytonutrient content. It is a good source of vitamin C and protects against cold and flu. So take 1-2 pods of garlic in raw or crushed cooked form or as garlic tea with honey to reduce symptoms of cold.
- Hypertension or other heart diseases are very common these days in every household. Garlic is known to improve the levels of high blood pressure. It also relieves stress levels being antioxidant and anti inflammatory in nature.
- It also lowers LDL cholesterol which is mainly responsible for stroke and other heart diseases like coronary heart diseases. It helps to maintain flexibility of arteries and prevents athersclerosis.
- It helps to improve HbA1C levels.
- Garlic stimulates the satiety hormone and reduces binge eating, sugar cravings, junk and oily food stuff. Thus, it aids in weight loss process by boosting metabolism.
- Garlic can also helps to prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Being a rich source of selenium, some use garlic to prevent colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer as it reduces the process of formation of carcinogens.
- In conditions like cystic fibrosis, diabetes, yeast infection, as a mosquito repellant, preventing bacterial and fungal infections also, garlic plays its important part.
- It helps in digestion process and thereby keeps the intestines healthy.
- Garlic oil is also used to relieve pain in ear, menstrual disorders, H. pylori infection, muscle soreness, etc. It can also be used in treating inflammation, wound, throat infection, some STD’s, headaches, etc.
- Due to its aphrodisiac property, it improves sexual libido and prevents fatigue.
- Garlic oil can be applied to skin or nails to treat fungal infections. It is also applied to the skin for hair loss and thrush. It protects the skin from free radical damage and maintain the level of collagen.
- Garlic supplement in gel form also helps to reduce ringworm infection and athlete’s foot.
- It has also been used to treat acne or blemishes and psoriases.
- Garlic is used in the vagina for yeast or candida infections.
- Garlic extract can also be used in mouthwash to prevent gum problems and dental carries.
- Garlic also contains antioxidants which fight against oxidative damage to the body. Thereby, it also helps to detoxify the damage done by junk food or heavy metals to the organs.
- It also enhances work capacity or endurance specifically and thereby supports good overall health.
Apart from people who are allergic to garlic, or any religious purpose or do not appreciate the bad breath, everyone can consume garlic for its health benefits. Also, it is important to note that anything in excess is poison. A doctors advice is required if a person is on blood thinning medicine if he/she wants to use garlic alongwith. It may even cause burning sensation in stomach, gas, uneasiness, to some.
Overall garlic delays aging and improves longetivity. So why not use as a flavor booster in toppings, curries, gravies, stir fry, sauces and soups making the food more scrumptious to eat!