“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
Those are famous words from the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, often called the father of Western medicine. He actually used to prescribe garlic to treat a variety of medical conditions.Well… modern science has recently confirmed many of these beneficial health effects. Here are 11 health benefits of garlic that are supported by human research studies.
1. Garlic Contains a Compound Called Allicin, Which Has Potent Medicinal Properties; Garlic is a plant in the onion family, grown for its cooking properties and health effects. It is high in a sulfur compound called Allicin, which is believed to bring most of the health benefits.
2. Garlic Is Highly Nutritious, But Has Very Few Calories; Garlic is low in calories and very rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Manganese. It also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients.
3. Garlic Can Combat Sickness, Including the Common Cold; Garlic supplementation helps to prevent and reduce the severity of common illnesses like the flu and common cold.
4. The Active Compounds in Garlic Can Reduce Blood Pressure; High doses of garlic appear to improve blood pressure of those with known high blood pressure (hypertension). In some instances, supplementation can be as effective as regular medications.
5. Garlic Improves Cholesterol Levels, Which May Lower The Risk of Heart Disease; Garlic supplementation seems to reduce total and LDL cholesterol, particularly in those who have high cholesterol. HDL cholesterol and triglycerides do not seem to be affected.
6. Garlic Contains Antioxidants That May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia; Garlic contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage and ageing. It may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
7. Garlic May Help You Live Longer; Garlic has known beneficial effects on common causes of chronic disease, so it makes perfect sense that it could help you live longer.
8. Athletic Performance Can be Improved With Garlic Supplementation; Garlic can improve physical performance in lab animals and people with heart disease. Benefits in healthy people are not yet conclusive.
9. Eating Garlic Can Help Detoxify Heavy Metals in the Body; Garlic was shown to significantly reduce lead toxicity and related symptoms in one study.
10. Garlic May Improve Bone Health; Garlic appears to have some benefits for bone health by increasing estrogen levels in females, but more human studies are needed.
11. Garlic Is Easy to Include In Your Diet and Tastes Absolutely Delicious; My favourite way to use garlic is to press a few cloves of fresh garlic with a garlic press, then mix with extra virgin olive oil and a bit of salt. This a healthy and super satisfying dressing.
By Joe Leech, Dietitian