Garlic has been around for a very long time. Throughout that time it has been used for many different things such as flavor in food dishes and even for medicinal uses. So what are these medicinal uses and how do they benefit you? Continue reading to learn more about the health benefits of garlic.
What Is Garlic?
Garlic also called Allium sativum is a member of the onion genus. It is closely related to similar plants such as onions, shallots, leeks, chives, and Chinese onions. The plant is native to central Asia and has become a common seasoning across the world. In fact, China produces around 80% of the world’s supply of garlic. You can easily grow garlic for yourself year-round in mild climates.
Health Benefits Of Garlic
Garlic is highly nutritious for the amount of calories that it contains. One small clove of garlic provides many nutrients such as:
- Fiber: 0.06 grams
- Vitamin C: 1% of the Daily Value
- Selenium: 1% of DV
- Vitamin B6: 2% DV
- Manganese: 1% DV
Along with these nutrients, garlic also contains small amounts of calcium, copper, phosphorus, iron, potassium, and thiamine (vitamin B1). All of these nutrients in only 4.5 calories too, with a few proteins and a few carbs.
Alongside the nutrients mentioned above, garlic can be a great food to eat when you are sick and can even be used to help prevent sickness. In a study conducted back in 2001, 146 volunteers were randomly given a garlic supplement or a placebo. After 12 weeks, the group with the supplement had 63% fewer colds than those who were on a placebo. In addition to fewer colds, those who had a cold while on the supplement had the length of their symptoms reduced by 70%.
A similar study, conducted in 2012 showed that when taking a high dose of aged garlic extract each day, the number of days sick with the cold or flu could be reduced by 61%.
Reduced Blood Pressure
There are many cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, these are some of the world’s biggest killers. Having high blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, contributes to these diseases. One study published in October of 2010 looked into the effect of garlic on blood pressure. They found through a randomized trial, that garlic had a significant impact (10.2 ± 4.3 mmHg lower) on reducing blood pressure for people who have high blood pressure.
Garlic contains also contains phytochemicals. These are chemical compounds that are found in plants that protect cells from damage. There is evidence that supports this. Amanda Bakko, a nutritionist at Northwestern Medicine shared some information as to why garlic is beneficial. She stated that “Garlic’s rich phytochemical content delivers its potential cholesterol-lowering and cancer-fighting characteristics.” Other foods that contain these phytochemicals are:
- Brussel Sprouts
Incorporating Garlic Into Your Diet
There are many ways that you can receive the health benefits of garlic for yourself. You can use garlic supplements or even garlic extract like in the studies mentioned above, however one of the best ways to get it is from the food you eat. You can add garlic to many dishes for a flavor boost and the health benefits too. Here are some recipes that contain a significant amount of garlic.
Epicurious.com has an amazing roasted garlic recipe. All you need for it is some large heads of garlic and a little bit of olive oil (1/4 cup). To make it, you need to cut the tops off the garlic, add oil with some salt and pepper. Next, they say to cover it with aluminum foil and bake for around 55 minutes at 350 degrees Farenhieght or until the garlic is a golden brown. You can get this recipe along with many more on their website here.
Garlic Lemon Shrimp
Tasteofhome.com has a great recipe for this. You will need:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 pound uncooked shrimp
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- cooked pasta
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the directions on how to prepare and serve this dish, along with all of the other dishes they have, you can visit their website here.
When it comes to the health benefits of garlic, there is a lot that you can receive. To recap, it is very nutritious, can fight against sickness, reduce blood pressure and even contains cancer-fighting properties. To receive these benefit you will need to get garlic into your diet through food or supplementation.