6 Surprising Health Benefits of Garlic

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Vampires detest it, Italians love it. Garlic has been eaten for thousands of years…for good reason.

Its wonderful taste and medicinal properties place it a notch above many other foods, earning it a super food reputation. With over 100 beneficial compounds, the benefits of garlic are certainly hard to beat.

So why exactly is garlic so darn healthy? Below are some of the lesser-known benefits of garlic along with some tips on how to eat it. Enjoy!

Garlic Prevents Cancer

Research shows eating garlic may help to reduce the risk of lung cancer. In a Chinese study, scientists analyzed data from thousands of participants. They found that people who ate raw garlic twice a week nearly halved their risk.1

Garlic Lowers Blood Sugar

Garlic may be a weapon against diabetes. In a clinical trial, diabetic patients who received Metformin (a diabetic drug) and garlic extract had better glycemic control than those receiving Metformin alone. The garlic group also had lower triglycerides and total cholesterol levels.2

Garlic Combats Food Poisoning

If you’ve ever gotten food poisoning, you know how horrible it can be. Garlic may be a potential antidote.

Scientists found garlic to be a hundred times more powerful than conventional antibiotics in combating Campylobacter jejuni,3 the bacteria that is very often the culprit in food poisoning.

Garlic Prevents Arthritis

Researchers found that women who ate a diet high in allium vegetables (onions, garlic, leeks) were less likely to have arthritis of the hip. A compound found in these vegetables called diallyl disulphide inhibits the breakdown of cartilage in joints.4

Eat Garlic Crushed and Raw

Use fresh garlic instead of dried or powdered garlic in your favorite dishes. And crush it before use. Crushing generates hydrogen sulfide, a compound that supports healthy blood pressure levels and has a myriad of other heart benefits.5

If you can bear the taste, add raw garlic instead of cooked to your dishes. Cooking prevents the generation of hydrogen sulfide.

Sprouted Garlic is Better

Don’t discard the garlic with the green shoots. It seems past its prime, but it really isn’t. A recent study demonstrated that sprouted garlic has more heart-healthy antioxidants than unsprouted garlic.6

Milk Prevents Garlic Breath

Do you avoid raw garlic because you don’t want bad breath? Don’t! A study found that eating garlic along with milk reduced halitosis.7 So enjoy and don’t deprive yourself!

Not Into Garlic? Supplement with Allicin

Some people are just not fond of garlic’s taste. If this is you, consider supplementing.

You can still get many of the benefits without compromising your taste buds. Look for supplements that contain allicin. It’s one of the many disease-fighting antioxidants found in garlic.

References:

  1. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2013 Jul;6(7):711-8. 
  2. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2011 Oct;24(4):565-70. 
  3. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2012 Aug;67(8):1915-26. 
  4. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2010 Dec 8;11:280. 
  5. J Agric Food Chem. Aug 12, 2009; 57(15): 7137–7144. 
  6. J Agric Food Chem. 2014 Feb 26;62(8):1875-80. 
  7. J Food Sci. 2010 Aug 1;75(6):C549-58.

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