You might not make new friends if you chew on garlic, but unknown to most people, garlic is the oldest known medicinal plant variety in existence. It has been used for the treatment of different illness from time in memorial. A member of the onion family, garlic contains a powerful sulfur compound called allicin, which also lends it a distinctive, unpleasant  “smell” ( As many people call it) Garlic contains useful minerals: phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium, and iron, as well as trace minerals like iodine, sulfur, and chlorine. It is also a rich source of vitamins like folate, thiamine, niacin, and vitamin C, A, K, and B6. It is one of the rare sources of allicin, allisatin  and allisatin and is very low in calories, saturated fats, and sodium.

Garlic is native to central Asia but today, garlic is grown in many parts of the world, given that the climate is cool or it is grown in shady areas. Garlic can be added to almost any dish, from tomato sauces, soups and stir-fries to grilled vegetable and fishes. Garlic’s complex flavor can add depth to any recipe and is naturally very low in sodium. Read on and discover the amazing benefits garlic has to offer.

It Prevents Blood Clots
Clotting of blood to prevent excess blood loss is good but not when the blood clots detach and are carried by the bloodstream to other vital organs such as brain, lungs, kidney etc. When this happens it can lead to heart attacks and strokes without you ever knowing. You could be sitting fine one second, then a clot dislodges from its place of origin and travels to the brain or lungs and blocks an important small artery. Consuming 2 garlic cloves before breakfast every alternate day can help prevent our blood from clotting and causing strokes or heart attacks (1).

Note: While this fact is great for people with heart ailments and those prone to suffering from a stroke and other clotting disorders, it may also increase the risk of bleeding after surgery.


It Lowers Cholesterol Levels


Scientific studies have shown that there are two kinds of cholesterol: LDL (bad) and HDL(good). The allicin present in garlic helps lower our blood triglycerides and total cholesterol thus, prevents LDL cholesterol from oxidizing. It is therefore advisable for people who have high “bad” cholesterol level to include garlic in their daily diet.



It Possess Cancer Prevention Properties


Research suggests that garlic is highly beneficial to fairly eliminate the risk of prostate, esophageal and colon cancer. In fact, other studies have found that consuming raw garlic at least one time per week can lower esophageal cancer. The sulfur and a variety of bioactive compounds like flavonoids, oligosaccharides, arginine, and selenium contained in garlic is responsible for the cancer prevention property. Garlic is also widely popular to eliminate the possibility of cyst and tumor development in breast responsible for causing breast cancer.



It Helps Control Blood Pressure


Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in the world, so we should be doing whatever we can to lower our risk. Studies have shown that garlic can benefit the health of your respiratory and circulatory system in several different ways. These benefits may come from the production of hydrogen sulfide gas, which is produced when red blood cells take the sulphuric compounds from garlic. The gas can help expand our blood vessels, which can help keep your blood pressure steady.



It Improves Bone Health


Age and unhealthy lifestyle can make our bones weak, which means that fractures and osteoporosis will set in much earlier. Garlic may help reduce bone loss through the increase of estrogen in females. A 2007 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research discovered that garlic oil was able to preserve the skeletal health of rodents when under a hypogonadal situation. In other words, garlic contains nutrients that act as building blocks for healthy, strong bones. Consume 2-3 raw garlic cloves per day to improve bone health.



Regulates Blood Sugar


High blood sugar can make you prone to developing diabetes, blood pressure, obesity etc. If you are suffering from high blood sugar, you must include garlic in your diet. Scientists from Kuwait conducted an experiment with raw and boiled garlic and found that raw garlic significantly reduced blood glucose levels in lab animal models (2). Therefore, consume raw garlic instead of the cooked bulb to help lower the blood sugar levels.



It Keep Colds Away


Garlic provides you relief from that stubborn cold and flu. Consuming 2-3 cloves of raw or cooked garlic a day or sipping some garlic tea (with a touch of honey or ginger to lift up the taste) is not only going to relieve a stuffed nose and cure the cold but also build your immunity against these frequent visitors over time. In fact, one simple study tracked 146 healthy adults through cold and flu season to see if garlic could help ward off the sniffles. The participants were divided into two groups—half of the group received a garlic supplement and half were given a pill. The group that took the pill contracted 65 colds throughout the study, while the group taking the garlic supplements only came down with 24.


So How Much Garlic Do One Need?


Each garlic clove is approximately 1 gram or 1000mg  so aim to consume 2 to 3 cloves per day, depending on the benefits you’d like to achieve. For example, if you have an increased risk of heart disease or already suffer from high cholesterol or blood pressure levels, then you may want to consume 2 to 3 cloves.

To date, no studies have examined the safety of garlic supplements in children. While fresh garlic is a perfectly safe addition to their daily diet, high-strength supplements should be avoided.


Some Side Effects of Garlic


For most people, garlic is very safe. Common side effects include bad breath, heartburn and body odor  and while these aren’t necessarily bad for overall health, they can be embarrassing. Consuming garlic in the form of supplements can help to reduce these side effects because they are broken down and digested in the small intestines, compared to fresh garlic which is broken down in the stomach. This eliminates any potential repeat or heartburn.

Also, raw garlic should be avoided by anyone with an allergy to garlic. Consult your physician if you notice hives, cramps, diarrhoea or gas. The cooking process breaks down many of the proteins in garlic that are responsible for the allergic reaction and some people find cooked garlic and supplements better tolerated, however, they should still be used with caution.


Garlic also acts as a blood thinner which, while beneficial for some, it can be problematic for those who are already taking blood-thinning medications such anticoagulants or aspirin. If you are taking any medications consult your physician prior to taking garlic supplements to be sure to avoid any interactions. It’s also important to avoid high quantities of garlic prior to surgical procedures because it can increase your risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Tell your doctor or surgeon if you are taking any supplements prior to surgery.



Why Not Give This Creamy Garlic Dressing a Try


Ingredients

3 garlic cloves

1 whole egg

1 pinch of pepper

1 cup salad oil



Method


Blend garlic in blender, add the whole egg, pinch of pepper  and blend well, then gradually add oil a little at a time, until creamy and thick. 

 Makes about 1 1/2 cups of dressing for your salads.
 

Also Note


If you are using garlic for cholesterol, have your levels checked after three months. The recommended daily amount of garlic ranges from around 1000mg-3000mg. Some people may experience indigestion, intestinal gas and diarrhoea when taking high doses of garlic.

Garlic’s health benefits are plenty, but don’t add too much to your diet too quickly. Overdoing it can cause discomfort. You may also get a stinging feeling on the skin if you handle significant amounts of fresh and dried garlic. To avoid garlic-induced skin lesions, wear kitchen gloves. On rare occasions, garlic supplements can cause headaches, fatigue, appetite loss, muscle aches, dizziness and allergic reactions such as asthma attacks or skin rashes.

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