The use of garlic dates many years back in human history more than 5,000 years, for all kinds of beneficial use that can ever be imagined. Records have it that back in the ancient millennial; it was used as an anti-evil charm to ward off evil spirits and vampires. Also because of its medicinal qualities, it’s been used as some sort of vaccine against plagues by gravediggers in 18th century France. It’s also been used as an antiseptic during war times to clean soldiers’ wounds and injuries so that they are not infected.
Garlic has some kind of sulfur compounds in very high amounts which are believed to be the reason for its intense aroma. It is used in much preparation of many dishes around the world and some people also like taking it raw. But however it gets into your body system, you can rest assured that you are getting loads of benefits health wise.
Maybe the most spectacular thing about garlic is that it has been found to treat and sometimes even preventing the onset of four major causes of death in the world including; Cancer, Heart diseases, Stroke, and Infections.
Garlic is a highly recommended item food by most medical practitioners including nutritionists and dieticians for a whole lot of benefits which we shall be getting to see in the course of this post.
So, you do not want to miss this one.
Nutritional Content Of Garlic.
Garlic actually falls into the Lilly (Amaryllidaceae) family which is somewhat contrary to what a lot of people think. Garlic is neither an herb nor vegetable, no not outrightly but categorically falls under the Amaryllidaceae subfamily called Allioideae which also includes food crops like onions, leek, and chive. It’s found growing beneath the ground as a bulb with its long green shoot coming out above the ground just like the Lilies you are used to seeing during springs. This is actually the main part of the plant known and consumed as Garlic with all the benefits it offers.
This perennial plant is thought to have originated somewhere in central Asia but can also be found in parts of Europe such as France and Italy.
When garlic sheathing covers are peeled, what is revealed is the Garlic clove which has eatable smaller bulbs of about 20 in a single bulb. The nutritional content of this superfood is so numerous and are worthy of note. These nutrients include Amino Acids, Oligosaccharides, Flavonoids, Allicin, high levels of Sulfur, about 0.1 percent of essential oil containing Diallyl disulfide, Allyl propyl disulfide, and Diallyl trisulfide as the main constituents of these essential oils. These are just a few of the health-promoting nutrients found in Garlic and which can make the consumption of Garlic beneficial to you.
The measurement of the nutrients found per clove of Garlic is usually the basis used for both cooking and also for medical intents. Some measurements of these nutrients per clove of Garlic are hereby highlighted below;
- 4 -calories
- 1- gram carbohydrates
- 0.2-gram protein
- 0.1 gram fiber
- 0.1-milligram manganese (3 percent RDA)
- 0.9-milligram vitamin C (2 percent RDA)
- 5.4- milligrams calcium (1 percent RDA)
- 0.4- micrograms selenium (1 percent RDA)
There are so many more nutrients beyond all these that can still be found in garlic. TheAllicin found in Garlic has been the subject of so many researchers with the aim of finding useable properties for both the prevention and curing of chronic diseases including high blood pressures and other cardiovascular diseases and Cancer.
What Are The Healing Benefits Of Garlic?
There truly so many benefits that one can glean from Garlic both as a culinary ingredient or just taking it raw. The high concentration of some sulfur compounds found in Garlic account for numerous or its health benefits.
Research has shown that apart from Turmeric which also abounds in so many health benefits, no other plant or naturally occurring food surpasses Garlic in benefits. The right thing to do then is to embellish our meals on a daily basis with Garlic so as to reap the benefits of this wonderful superfood.
So then let’s take a look at some of the benefits that Garlic has to offer.
1. Garlic Can Lower High Blood Pressure.
According to a research conducted evaluating 50 people with uncontrolled cases of high blood pressure shows that taking aged garlic extracts for a period of 3 months drastically reduced the blood pressure within an average of 10 points. This is after these patients have been actively taking antihypertensive drugs for some time without actually seeing improvements in their blood pressure levels. This is not the only study that confirms the benefits of Garlic for blood pressure regulation.
Another interesting one was conducted in 2014 and shows that the effectiveness of aged garlic extract in treating and lowering the blood pressures for hypertensive patients can very well match that of medical prescription in equal strengths. This study confirms that the presence of polysulfide in Garlic allows for the blood vessels to open more to enhance the free flow of blood through the blood vessels thereby lowering the already increased blood pressure.
2. Garlic Can Improve The Health Of The Hair And Stop Hair Loss.
Garlic has been found in recent past to restore hair loss as a result of an ailment or as a result of the use of certain medications. This has been the practice in certain parts of the world for instance in turkey it has been used to treat baldness for many years before studies were conducted to confirm it to be true.
Also, some research was conducted by some medical science researchers who wanted to find the effects of garlic gel along with the use of corticosteroids for the treatment of Alopecia. This autoimmune skin disease is responsible for facial and scalp hair loss including some other parts of the body. What’s interesting is that after applying it for three months, it improved the results previously gotten from using just the corticosteroid alone. Another thing is that using garlic-infused coconut oil for hair loss might give a better result as it doesn’t come with the risk of absorbing corticosteroids in the skin.
3.For Heart Disease.
Heart diseases and cancer have been found to be among the top killer diseases both in the US, Canada and in Europe especially in the UK. Garlic for some time now has received acceptance the world over for the treatment and also for preventing so many of these cardiovascular diseases. A study that was conducted on both animals and humans on the benefits of Garlic showed that there is a cardio-protective advantage when Garlic is taken in both cases and helps to protect against diseases like hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, thrombosis, and atherosclerosis
This is not all. According to studies, Garlic has also been shown to remove the build-up of plaque in the arteries thereby reversing the early signs of heart diseases. This study was carried out using 55 patients between 40 and 75 years and it was shown that Garlic was effective in reducing the plaque in the coronary arteries.
4.For Alzheimers Disease And Dementia.
Imagine not remembering the way to the guest toilet in your own home or worse, forgetting your name or date of birth. This is all the negative effects of a brain disease called Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. This results when the body’s protection against oxidative damage is not up to par.
Garlic with its antioxidant effects can be of service in this regard supporting the body to fight against the oxidative damage that causes these illnesses.
5.Garlic For Diabetes.
Studies have shown that Garlic can be very helpful in fighting and militate against complications that can arise from diabetes. Garlic regulates blood sugar levels thereby reducing the effects of these complications and infections while also increasing blood circulation and finally decrease the LDL cholesterol levels.
The effect of Garlic in this aspect can better be felt it is included and taken as part of a diet plan for diabetes.
The positive effects of Garlic in fighting cancer cannot be overstated. Cancer research bodies around the world have conducted series of tests and studies to show that Garlic indeed is a cancer-fighting superfood.
A study conducted among general populace found that there was a link between reduced risk of cancer and the consumption of Allium foods especially Garlic and its bioactive sulfur. The antibacterial qualities of Garlic might be responsible for Garlic’s protective abilities against cancer-causing substances and DNA repair and also to induce death in cancer cells.
Research is also ongoing to unleash the potential shown by Garlic in treating cancer. The organosulfur compounds found in Garlic when infused into cancer cells during experiments causes programmed cell death for cancer cells and also cause cell cycle arrest in vitro experiments.
Colds are very common ailments among humans, no wonder sometimes it is being referred to as “common cold”. But cold is usually as a result of infection caused by micro-organisms. Taking Garlic has proved to be effective in dealing with the causative micro-organisms that cause these infections.
Studies show that by taking Garlic, the Allicin present in Garlic makes it less likely to come down with cold and if already suffering from cold it can aid the quick recovery from cold. This makes Garlic, not just a good cure for but also a preventive measure for the common cold virus which is attributed to the presence of Allicin in Garlic. It can also be used against other kinds of infection due largely to its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial qualities.
8. Possess Anti-Microbial Properties.
There has been lots of scientific research into the anti-microbial properties said to have been found in Garlic and according to preliminary result from most close monitored researches, its shows that garlic oil kills and restrains many kinds of microorganisms including different strains of bacteria, Virus, pathogenic fungus, amoeba protozoon, trichomoniasis, and parasites thus supporting the views that garlic oil can be used as a natural antibiotics.
9.Garlic As An Antioxidant.
Research has found garlic oil to possess antioxidant properties. If you must know antioxidants are those substances that inhibit oxidation. They help remove all oxidizing agents capable of causing damage to the proper function of living organisms. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Spirulina are among others known to possess antioxidant compounds.
The antioxidant component of garlic oil helps the body naturally get rid of harmful substances in the body which if left can disrupt metabolic activities and may also cause cancer.
10. Garlic Oil Lowers Blood Cholesterol Levels.
High cholesterol in the body encourages plaque build up within the blood vessels, and that negatively affects the blood flow that passes through these blood vessels blocked by plaques. That seem to set the stage for many heart related diseases, stroke as well as peripheral artery disease.
Garlic Oil when taken decreases level of low density lipids know as bad cholesterol, which is very helpful as it eliminate the risk of heart disease caused by atherosclerosis.
Moreover, the chemicals present in garlic promotes the formation of HDL(High-density lipoprotein, helpful in transporting fat molecules around the body) Cholesterol.
What Are The Possible Side Effect Of Garlic?
There is almost nothing that when taken excessively does not lead to a side effect. This is most true for Garlic, especially when taken raw and by mouth. Common side effects of excessive intake of Garlic includes; a burning sensation in the mouth or stomach, bad breath, heartburn, gas, bloating, nausea, vomiting, body odor, and diarrhea. The more you take the more the likelihood of this side effects occurring.
Garlic naturally acts as a blood thinner and can lead to increased risk of bleeding. It is therefore usually advised to stop taking Garlic if you are going in for surgical operation two weeks before it’s scheduled.
For pregnant and breastfeeding women and also in children, it is advised to be taken as in food quantities but never in medicinal quantities as it unsafe.
Raw Garlic can cause irritation in the gastrointestinal tract especially for ulcer patients and other patients with gastrointestinal problems
In any case, before embarking on that Garlic-taking spree, talk to your doctor most especially if you are taking medications for the following;Blood-thinning medications, Isoniazid (Nydrazid), Birth control pills, Cyclosporine, Medications for HIV/AIDS and Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Try as much as possible to consume Garlic in culinary doses and avoid taking raw garlic in massive amounts.
How Best To Use Garlic.
Generally, the recommended daily dose of two to five grams (about one clove) of fresh garlic, 0.4 to 1.2 grams of dried garlic powder, is given by WHO (World Health Organisation).
Cooking Garlic does not diminish its antioxidant value at all and can even be higher sometimes, that is if you seek its anti-microbial benefits. The addition of raw garlic to any vegetable, fish or meat surely increases the flavouralong with the health benefits especially when chopped or crushed. This activates Alliinase enzymes in the garlic’s cells and converts some of the Garlic’s Allin into Allicin.
Also, using garlic oil can be an excellent source of cure for ear infection.
Garlic should be stored at room temperature and kept dry to prevent it from sprouting.
So there you have it! Garlic in all its glorious benefits and uses. The most interesting and satisfying part is that it is backed up by science. What’s more is that there are still more benefits that have not been found or proven yet which scientists are vigorously working to unravel.
I hope they unbox those benefits and help solve a lot more of the health challenges out there.