Have you ever wondered if that little bulb of garlic could do you any good? There is the thought that it is so stinky and gives bad breath that it simply can’t offer any health benefits. That’s where you’re wrong.
Garlic is one of the most beneficial ingredients in the world. There’s a reason why Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans opted for it in their herbal remedies. Herbalists around the world now use it, instead of opting for Western-created drugs. Studies around the world throughout the years have proven various health benefits, with many other studies still being conducted to see if there are other ways people can benefit; and to see just how well we benefit in the current ways.
Not all the benefits are health related either! Here’s a look at all the ways we can benefit just by eating a clove of garlic or two a day.
What Is Garlic?
You’ve likely seen garlic mentioned in numerous recipes. It’s a popular ingredient due to the tastes that it offers to recipes like Bolognese sauce, lasagne, and stir fries. It’s also a popular option because of the many benefits it offers, which is why many Chinese and Japanese recipes will call for large quantities of it.
The vegetable is closely related to the onion and looks like a white bulb. It is usually covered in a flaky skin, with various cloves connected to a white stick in the middle. The cloves are broken off and usually chopped or crushed to add into meals. It can also be eaten whole, or you can blend it down in smoothies if you want.
It does have a strong taste and does have a strong scent after handling and being eaten. You’ll need to wash your hands after use, as it will stick to it for long periods of time. The residue that comes from it is also sticky, which is something we’ll get to soon within the benefits.
So, what are these numerous benefits to garlic? How can it help your health and what other ways will it help you in life? Here’s a complete look at all the amazing ways you can take advantages of it.
Allicin Compound Offers Medicinal Properties
Ancient Greeks and Romans used this one ingredient in the majority of their herbal remedies because of the allicin compound. Of course, they wouldn’t have been able to give the compound this name or known that it was this compound that helped, but scientists have found that this is the reason for all the medicinal properties.
It is now used around the world, especially for treatment of various ailments. Let’s get into these now.
Combats Common Allergens that Bring About Cold and Flu
Those who suffer from colds on a regular basis need to eat more garlic. The allicin compound helps to fight against all different types of sicknesses, including the common cold, which is one illness that there’s no Western treatment for. The garlic won’t just treat symptoms, like some over the counter medication, but fight off the infection that is causing those symptoms. The symptoms the garlic will fight off includes cold sores, which usually form when you’re run down and the dormant virus flares up again.
It’s also great for fighting off the flu, meaning you don’t need to deal with as many days off work. There may be a single day where you feel worn down, but the symptoms won’t be as bad as they are without the use of the ingredient. Other illnesses are also fought against, meaning you recover much quicker.
You’ll also find that the garlic can prevent illnesses from occurring, meaning you don’t need to deal with the symptoms as often. While everyone else is suffering from the winter flu or a summer cold, you can smile to yourself knowing that you’re protected. It can also help to prevent more serious infections or limit the symptoms should they start passing through your area.
That doesn’t mean they will completely replace all western medicine. There are still some ailments that will need some drugs to help them. Studies are still needed to see how well the garlic will fight off certain ailments.
Another benefit from the allicin compound is the ability to fight against high blood pressure. It is even just as effective as the medication atenolol, which is usually prescribed to help those with high blood pressure—also known as hypertension.
High blood pressure is extremely dangerous to the body. It increases the stress hormone cortisol and puts the whole body under strain. You put your heart at high risk of heart attack.
It can be a sign of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women. High blood pressure on its own can also lead to pre-term labour and difficulties for still-developing babies. Keeping it under control naturally is highly recommended, and eating garlic could help to reduce the risk of being bed-ridden for the rest of your pregnancy!
The downside is that four cloves will be needed to see all the benefits to fight against blood pressure. You will also still need to see your doctor regularly to make sure you are continually protected against the risks of suffering from hypertension.
If you suffer from low blood pressure instead, you will want to discuss your diet with your doctor.
Helps Lower Cholesterol and Limits Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Wouldn’t you just love to reduce the risk of developing heart disease in later life? One of the main reasons for this is the high levels of bad cholesterol in your body. This leads to blocked arteries, which means the heart doesn’t get all the blood it needs and can’t pass as much oxygenated blood around the body as required by the organs. You don’t just put yourself at risk of heart disease and heart attack, but also at the risk of a stroke.
Garlic will lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) without affecting the good cholesterol (HDL) in the body. Our bodies still need some cholesterol to help keep the arteries healthy, so you don’t want to affect that! You can get good cholesterol naturally by eating eggs, so mix that with your garlic and you’re benefitting your health two-fold.
Increases Your Antioxidant Levels
Antioxidants are needed by the body and elements that you will get from your food. More antioxidants will fight against the free radicals in the body, which lead to various health problems. One of those health problems in cancer.
The free radicals affect the cells in the body, meaning that damaged cells repair abnormally, and dead cells are replaced with abnormally growing new cells. These cells are open to cancerous cells, which may lay dormant in the body and come alive if not protected against. The antioxidants fight against the free radicals from attacking cells, meaning that none of them can form abnormally.
Antioxidants also offer benefits to the brain. The cognitive functions aren’t impaired by poorly forming cells, so you’re at a lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. You can also help to protect your mind by doing brain puzzles and keeping your short and long term memory alert.
The antioxidants are also responsible for protecting the body against illnesses. They help to boost the immunity, working together with the allicin compound already mentioned above. Of course, sleep also helps with this, as this is when the immune system can work fully. By feeling better in yourself, you’ll sleep better, and this will also help to keep you protected against illnesses.
Plenty of Nutrients Without All the Calories
Don’t you just wish that the food you eat will offer you plenty of nutrients without all the extra calories? The good news with most healthy food is that it is low in calories, and this is certainly the case when it comes to garlic. This is one of the best options for weight loss without running the risk of causing deficiencies in various nutrients.
Garlic is full of manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Vitamin C is one of those that many people will already be aware of and is one that the body can’t create alone or store. It helps to boost the immune system, as well as improve the look of the skin and improve the eyesight. Vitamin C also helps with the growth and repairing of tissues and collagen, which help to improve the elasticity of the skin, ligaments, and blood vessels. It will heal wounds and helps to maintain the health of the bones and the teeth, working well with calcium in the body. A clove of garlic can help you get your daily required amount because it is so high in it.
Vitamin B6 is needed by the body for two functions. The first is to carry the oxygenated blood around the body, by forming haemoglobin (the red blood cells). This vitamin also helps to store and use any proteins and carbohydrates eaten on a daily basis, so we have the energy to complete everything throughout the day. This helps to lead to another benefit, which is mentioned below.
What about manganese? This is one of those minerals that you may not have heard about as much but is extremely important. The mineral helps to form the bone structure while encouraging the bones to develop and build correctly. It works with calcium and vitamin C to create healthy and strong bones. It is also used to help keep the body’s metabolic rate health, aiding with burning calories in food effectively and efficiently. This can help with weight loss, which we’ll go into in more detail soon. Finally, it is a powerful antioxidant, offering many of the benefits as we’ve mentioned above.
Improves Bone Density
We’ve already looked at how the bone health is benefitted through the addition of garlic in the body. This isn’t just because of the manganese and vitamin C that the ingredient offers. It is extremely useful for helping women later in life keep their bones strong and prevent osteoporosis.
Low levels of oestrogen are the main reason for poor bone health in older women. This is a hormone that is naturally produced by the body, but production levels fall with menopause. We can’t escape menopause happening, but we can escape some of the health problems associated with it.
Garlic helps to increase levels of oestrogen being created, which means that women can keep their bones strong and healthy. Mixed with the health benefits already mentioned, women won’t need to worry too much about osteoporosis happening.
Unleashes Your Athletic Prowess
This is a health benefit that more research is needed, especially when it comes to those who are already fit and healthy. It is possible that it eventually offers no benefits, but those who are just starting with training will benefit considerably.
Garlic helps to reduce the level of exercise fatigue felt, which means you’re able to do much more in a shorter space of time. Your muscles won’t feel as weak, and you won’t run out of steam as easily when doing aerobic exercises.
On top of that, your heart can handle much more exercise in a shorter space of time. Thanks to the compounds helping to reduce your blood pressure, your peak heart rate will be much lower. You won’t feel like you’re doing as much, so you’re able to go for much longer. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing weights or some aerobic exercise, like fitness classes or running.
This won’t stop some calories you burn. Your peak heart rate lowering means that you can do more and will burn much more calories throughout the day. Depending on the exercise you do, you may also find that you can keep some calories you burn up throughout your day. This will instantly help you with weight loss, which we’ll look at next.
Aids in Your Weightloss Efforts
Who would think that the food you eat would help you lose weight? Garlic is certainly something to add if you’re on a diet, especially as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Remember that it is lower in calories than many other foods, while still getting all those nutrients. You’ll find it much easier to add flavour to your meals and create a calorie deficit at the same time. The calorie deficit is the thing that you need to concentrate on when it comes to weight loss. By burning more calories than you eat, your body will need to take the excess calories from another part of your body; usually the fat.
By feeling like you can do more exercise, you’ll also burn more calories throughout the day. This makes the calorie deficit even higher, so you’ll lose even more weight in a short space of time. By doing exercise while losing weight, you’ll also find that you burn more calories from the excess fat and not from your muscles. Muscle toning is something that is much easier, which means you can look fitter as well as thinner!
A Complete Body Detox
Sometimes your body just feels heavy. Your skin can start to feel oily, and you have this sense of tiredness for no reason at all. It’s time for a complete body detox to get rid of the toxins that are causing this. Garlic is one of those ingredients that you need to add to your diet to help with this.
Remember all those benefits we’ve already mentioned, like the improved antioxidant levels and boost in nutrients? All these will help to remove the toxins from the body. The allicin will get into the digestive system and encourage that to move all the toxins through your kidneys and out through you urine.
Most ingredients from the onion family will do this. They fight against the toxins already built up and encourage them to leave the system. Garlic is the most potent, which may be why it is used in the mythology of vampires to keep them at bay.
Treat Athlete’s Foot and Skin Conditions
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that nobody wants. It can get into the nails, too, creating yellow, painful and solid claws on the feet and hands. The fungal infection on the skin is prickly, itchy and unsightly. The good news is garlic will help.
The allicin compounds will help to fight against the fungal infections, whether you eat the ingredient or use it in a mixture. One of the most effective options is to create a garlic-infused bath with warm water to place your feet on it. Keep them there for 20 minutes or so and let the mixture do its work. You can do this every night until the athlete’s foot clears up. You may find it takes longer for fungal nail infections but can be just as effective in the long term. Make sure the fungus is completely gone before you stop using the daily baths.
You can also create cream with the garlic, so you use it as a topical treatment overnight. Try using a pair of socks to keep the cream locked into the skin and fight the fungal infection.
Likewise, the garlic will help to treat various other skin conditions, especially the likes of psoriasis and eczema. You can make cream place directly onto the affected areas, preventing the itchiness and reducing the redness. You’ll need to add the garlic to a moisturising base to help fight against the dryness that these skin conditions can create.
Proven Use for Hair and Skin Nourishment
The skin isn’t just helped by the garlic fighting against dry conditions. It will also be improved through the extra collagen production, as has already been mentioned above. The skin is much more flexible when the collagen production is at its optimum level. This means there is less risk of tears in the middle layers, which is the reason stretch marks forms. Those who are expecting a baby or are working on losing weight will find they benefit the most from this.
Garlic will also help to fight against the production of acne. The compounds in it will fight against the bacteria that gets into the pores, forming the acne in the first place. It can be eaten or placed directly onto the skin to benefit from this. Remember that there is the pungent smell that comes from garlic, so if you’re going to use it topical, then you’ll need to think about the timing for this.
The ingredient can also help to improve the look of the hair. The cells within the scalp will develop and regrow healthily, meaning that the hair is left silky smooth. There is also the added moisture without the excess oil production, protecting against both dry and greasy hair. This works whether your hair is light, dark or even coloured!
Remove Splinters from the Body
This is a benefit that hasn’t been tested scientifically but is something that many bloggers share about. People are forever looking for healthy and natural ways to get splinters out of their body, without doing damage to the skin. It’s time to use garlic bulbs!
All you need is a clove of garlic. Rub it on the skin and then place it over the splint, wrapping it up in a bandage. This will hold the clove in place and help the skin to soak in the juices, something that the socks overnight help to do to fight off athlete’s foot!
Many bloggers say that the garlic juices help to lift up the splinters. You’ll find it easier to remove them from the skin, without lots of picking and damage. If you do accidentally damage the skin, you will find that you can repair that through the use of the ingredient. The higher levels of vitamin C help to improve the look of wounds quickly.
It’s something that you’ll have to test for yourself. There’s no guarantee it will work but the next time you have a splinter it’s always worth the shot, right?
Keep the Mosquitoes Away
How often do you have to deal with pesky mosquitoes, midges and other flying creatures that like to suck your blood? You’ve tried all the repellants out there and still don’t have anything that will help. You’ve even tried various herbal remedies, like lavender and sandalwood, with no help at all. It’s time to switch to a garlic paste.
All you need to do is lather your arms and legs in this, and the creatures will stay away. This is possibly another way that the myth of keeping vampires away has come from. The creatures don’t like the scent that the ingredient gives off, so they won’t even bother attempting to get your blood. You’ll not have to deal with the bites and the itchiness and swelling that can come with them.
If you suffer from allergic reactions to insect bites, you’ll also find that the garlic is beneficial for that. Not only will you keep the bites to a minimum, but the ingredient helps to fight off against allergic reactions if one of the creatures does happen to decide to give you a try.
The only issue is the smell. Remember that there is a strong scent, and you’ll need to deal with that with your paste. It’s something that other ingredients won’t quite cover up. If you’re going camping, though, do you care about smelling of garlic when you know you’re protected from the potential insect bites and ticks?
A Natural Pesticide
After looking at the benefit of keeping insects away from you, it’s natural to assume that the ingredient works as a pesticide. No animal wants to go near the smell of garlic.
This is a completely natural pesticide, too. There’s no need to worry about the damage that it could do to your crops or plants, and no need to worry about the damage it will do to your body afterwards. There’s no need to add extra chemicals that scientists have no idea about the long-term harm of.
You can easily use garlic as a natural pesticide. One option is to grow it next to your crops, creating a garlic barrier. This may not be a full deterrent for some animals. You may need to crush it and add the juices to your soil. This will help the plants to soak it up, so animals don’t eat the plants at all if they do decide to venture past the wall of garlic growing to protect them.
Catch More Fish
The only animals that do like the smell of garlic are sea animals. Fish especially love the scent; mind you, are you surprised when you consider the smell of tackle?
It’s time to add some garlic to the end of your fishing rod. You’ll find that it will attract more fish, and you’ll be able to catch more during your trip. There’s no need to worry about the harm that you’ll come to when you eat the fish since the ingredient is completely natural and healthy for you!
Some tackle boxes are now made up with garlic additives. Do look out for how the garlic is added to make sure it is completely healthy for you to use.
A Completely Natural Glue
Above I mentioned how the hands could be sticky after the use of garlic. The juices tend to be sticky to touch and residue will be left behind until you wash your hands. This sticky residue can offer other benefits in your life. One of those is by creating a natural glue.
This is especially beneficial when it comes to using it on glass. Hairline fractures in windows and mirrors can be quickly repaired and reduce the risk of the glass shattering and completely breaking. You’ll also cover up the cracks, so you’re at a lower risk of injury if your hand runs over it.
You may want to try it on other materials to see how well it works. It’s not the greatest option for large breaks and won’t completely make the cracks disappear, but it will help to prevent further damage.
Use a Natural De-Icer
How often do you go out to your path and slip during the winter? The ice can sometimes be completely invisible, and you end up with a sore backside and dented pride. You can help to protect yourself naturally through the use of garlic. It is a natural de-icer, especially from the likes of sidewalks and garden paths. It may be suitable for car windshields, too.
You can put some crushed garlic in water and then spray the mixture across your path after a freeze. Watch your step as you first do it. You may need to use it throughout the day depending on your weather conditions around your home. You can also use it to your plants to keep them protected from the freeze.
It Tastes Great
Finally, one of the best benefits of garlic isn’t even a health one. But it certainly helps you get all the health benefits mentioned above. Garlic tastes amazing and can be thrown into so many recipes. Whether you’re looking for something to add to the main dish or you want to create a healthy smoothie, this is one of those ingredients to consider.
There are so many ways to use it, too. With some recipes, you’ll want to add the cloves whole (and some even call for whole bulbs to be thrown in)! In other instances, you’ll want to slice, chop or crush the cloves to add to the flavouring of your meal.
By having something that tastes good, you’re more likely to eat it. This of course helps you get those benefits mentioned above because you’ll eat more throughout the week.
It’s time to add garlic to your shopping list. There are just so many amazing benefits for you to take advantage of. While many of these benefits are to your health, some are to your appearance and will help you in other walks of life. There’s no need to spend a fortune on over the counter medications and creams. It’s time to live like the Ancient Greeks and benefit from herbal remedies.
Garlic is one of the staple ingredients when cooking meals. Not only does it add to the taste and yummy scent of dishes, it also provides a lot of nutritional benefits to our health. It's a good thing that by using garlic in your dishes, you unknowingly absorb its abundant nutrients.