Garlic is related to onions, shallots and leeks. It’s often added to food during the cooking process because of it’s delicious flavor. But did you know garlic is also used for medicinal purposes. Ancient civilizations, including the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Chinese have all used garlic as a medicinal remedy. If you find yourself asking why is garlic good for you, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s look at some of the reasons why garlic is often labelled a health super food.
The Power of the Cloves
Garlic is formed of cloves which group together to make a bulb. Each bulb has around 10 to 20 cloves. The cloves are covered by a skin. When this is removed and the garlic chopped or crushed, a sulfur compound known as allicin is released. Allicin migrates around the body from the digestive tract, having several positive effects.
Garlic has a number of healthy vitamins and minerals. In a 1 ounce or 28 gram serving of garlic you can find good amounts of Manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Selenium. Garlic also contains calcium, copper, iron, Vitamin B1 and potassium. It is low in calories and carbs and is also a source of fiber.
So how does allicin work? Why is garlic good for you?
strengthening the immune system
Garlic has long been used to strengthen the workings of the body’s immune system. Research has shown that taking a garlic supplement daily can reduce the amount of colds experienced by about 63%. Garlic can also reduce the number of days cold symptoms are felt by 70%. This means that within 2 days, when using garlic, you will start to feel better from your cold as compared to 5 days with no use of garlic. So if you are someone who experiences a lot of colds it might be worthwhile adding garlic supplements to your daily routine.
reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol
Garlic can help to reduce high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that taking garlic supplements in daily doses of 600 to 1500 mg for at least 24 weeks is as effective for some people as using prescribed blood pressure medication. But keep in mind that the dose must be high to be effective. For the allicin to effectively reduce high blood pressure it must be consumed in greater amounts.
Garlic also has the ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Using garlic supplements can be very useful for people wanting to lower their high cholesterol levels.
A lot of antioxidants are found in garlic. Antioxidants are key in protecting the body against oxidative damage. There are studies that show garlic has the potential to be effective in fighting diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Garlic has also long been used as a supplement by athletes. It can potentially enhance performance and cut down on fatigue although not a lot of official studies have been conducted. More research is needed to fully understand what garlic can contribute to athletic prowess and performance.
reducing heavy metal toxicity
If you have been exposed to heavy metal toxicity garlic can be very helpful in protecting against potential organ damage. It can also aid in the reduction of side effects from heavy metal toxicity including headaches and blood pressure problems. You need to take high doses in order to get enough allicin circulating through the bloodstream. It’s best to speak to a doctor to ensure the right treatment path is made available to you.