Garlic doesn’t just add flavor to your favorite dishes, it can also be good for your health.
If you have to remember one thing from this article, let it be this: Garlic breath is good. Seriously, if you’ve eaten your share of garlic today, you’ve done your health a favor. But what is garlic, and why is it so good for you?
Don’t overlook the power of adding garlic to your favorite foods, which can contain a wide variety of nutrients and chemicals that can interact synergistically and beneficially. Deliberately and regularly including garlic in your food preparations can provide you with long-term benefits. Don’t be afraid to add garlic to hummus, pesto, pastas, sauces, soups, stir-fries and roasted vegetables. After all, garlic is packed with health benefits, here are seven of them.
1. Garlic can lower blood pressure
A few cloves of garlic a day can help avoid a trip to the cardiologist. Garlic stimulates the synthesis of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels, and inhibits the activity of ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme). ACE inhibitors help relax blood vessels. This could potentially promote healthy blood flow and blood pressure.
A recent meta-analysis published in February 2020 in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine indicates that in the 12 trials and more than 550 people with hypertension that were studied, taking garlic supplements for three months reduced blood pressure. systolic blood pressure (top number) by about 8 points and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) by 5.5 points, an effect similar to that of blood pressure medication.
2. Garlic can help curb inflammation
According to Harvard Health Publishing, scientists believe that chronic inflammation is one of the drivers of chronic disease, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and arthritis. Garlic, on the other hand, helps inhibit the activity of certain inflammatory proteins. In a randomized, controlled, double-blind study of 70 women with the inflammatory autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis, the group who took 1,000 milligrams of garlic supplements daily for eight weeks had markers less inflammation, less pain and fatigue, and less tender joints, compared to a placebo group. The researchers published their findings in November 2020 in the journal Phytotherapy Research.
3. Garlic May Help Lower Cholesterol
Another potential heart benefit of garlic: improving cholesterol levels. How ? Garlic can help lower the production of cholesterol by the liver.
Although more research is needed to determine the relationship between garlic consumption and cholesterol levels, a meta-analysis and review of studies that was published in May 2018 in Medicine concluded that taking garlic supplements Garlic was effective in lowering both total cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol levels, which are two risk factors for heart disease.
4. Garlic May Support Immune Function
Given our collective effort to learn how to take care of our immune systems during the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s a reason to add garlic to your dinner tonight. Although there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that garlic can prevent or treat the common cold, for example, it may play a role in your body’s defense mechanisms in several ways.
First of all, allicin (one of the plant chemicals) in garlic has antibacterial properties. Scientists also believe that garlic has antiviral properties that can work in two ways: by blocking the entry of viruses into cells and by boosting the immune response so that it can fight off potential invaders effectively. These are the things that can help support an overall healthy immune system.
5. Garlic can reduce blood clotting
Another benefit of garlic for your heart health: Compounds in garlic (and onion) have been shown to decrease blood platelet adhesion and have anticoagulant properties. These properties may help prevent atherosclerosis, a process in which plaque buildup leads to hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Atherosclerosis increases the risk of blood clots forming which can cause heart attacks and strokes. Of course, consuming garlic shouldn’t be the only preventative measure you take to protect your arteries.
6. Garlic Provides A Multitude Of Antioxidants
The nutrients and plant compounds in garlic give it strong antioxidant properties, according to a study published in July 2020 in Antioxidants. Not only do antioxidants benefit blood vessels and reduce inflammation, but they can absorb damaging free radicals that can lead to diseases like cancer (although this anti-cancer potential needs to be confirmed in human research) .
7. Garlic Makes Other Healthy Foods Taste Great
Garlic is in the same food category as onions, herbs and spices. Garlic adds flavor to food, which helps us eat more of the foods we’re supposed to eat, such as vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and beans.
Adding flavor with garlic can also potentially help you reduce the need for excess salt in your food and for just 4 calories per clove.
Finally, don’t overlook the role taste plays in your overall diet. When we enjoy the foods we eat and learn to listen to our satiety cues, they can also be more satisfying. All the more reason to add garlic to your next meal!
Garlic lowers blood pressure in hypertensive subjects, improves arterial stiffness and gut microbiota: A review and meta-analysis
The effects of garlic (Allium sativum) supplementation on inflammatory biomarkers, fatigue, and clinical symptoms in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
Anti-hyperlipidemia of garlic by reducing the level of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein
Garlic: Lab Studies Find Potential Cancer-Preventive Compounds