Revered in Egypt for its medicinal qualities, and prized in Italian, Asian, and Indian cooking, garlic has been called “the stinking rose” for good reason. Closely related to the onion, it’s a bulbous root with an undeniably fragrant pungency. It was mentioned in historical documents that date back 5,000 years ago before its fame permeated the rest of the known world.
Today, China, South Korea, India, Spain, and the U.S. are foremost in garlic production. Not only does it lend a delicious complexity to foods, it claims legitimate beneficence for dozens of different maladies.
Fresh garlic has nutritional benefits superior to that of any kind of processing, such as minced and refrigerated, or dried in flakes. Whole garlic bulbs will keep fresh for about a month if stored properly, preferably away from sunlight in an uncovered container.
Today, garlic is grown in many parts of the world, given that the climate is cool or it is grown in shady areas. This makes it an ideal herb for inclusion in numerous meals, and also use as an herbal remedy for various conditions.
Nutrition Facts (per 100g)
Total Carbohydrate -33g
Dietary Fiber -2g 8% RDA
Total Fat -0.5g
Protein -6.5g 13% RDA
Vitamin C -31mg 52% RDA
Thiamin -0.2mg 13% RDA
Riboflavin -0.1mg 6% RDA
Niacin -0.7mg 4% RDA
Vitamin B6 -1.2mg 62% RDA
Pantothenic Acid 0.6mg 6% RDA
Calcium -180mg 18% RDA
Iron -1.7mg 9% RDA
Magnesium -25mg 6% RDA
Phosphorus -155mg 15% RDA
Potassium -400mg 11% RDA
Zinc -1.2mg 8% RDA
Copper -0.3mg 15% RDA
Manganese -1.7mg 84% RDA
Selenium -14.2mcg 20% RDA
Heavy metals are extremely toxic and have a way of embedding themselves in deep fat layers and in organ tissue. This is very troublesome, as it can cause a host of untoward effects, ranging from cancer to organ failure and more. Garlic can help to chelate these heavy metals and promote their excretion by the body. If your job entails risk exposure, or you consume a lot of fish and seafood, garlic is the way to go.
While garlic does have decent amounts of the minerals necessary for bone health, this is not its primary mechanism in promoting bone health. Rather, that is due to garlic’s pseudo-estrogen like effect on bone tissue, as was observed on post-menopausal women. Though more studies need to be performed to confirm its efficacy in preserving bone, it can’t hurt you to eat more of it in an effort to support your bone health.
Our digestive system is host to a range of good and possibly pathogenic bacteria, which can cause negative effects when given the change. However, garlic can help to keep cultures of the “bad” bacteria where they should be, thanks to its antibacterial properties. Interestingly, it does not seem to negatively affect probiotic bacteria in a manner like powerful prescription anti-biotics would.
Tired of covering up those zits with concealer every morning? It's time to tackle the root cause of acne by purifying your blood from inside to get a healthy skin on the outside. Take two cloves of raw garlic with some warm water every day, early in the morning and consume a lot of water the entire day. If you're looking to shed some pounds, squeeze the juice of half a Lemon in a glass of lukewarm water and have it with 2 cloves of garlic in the mornings. Garlic will help to cleanse your system and flush out toxins.
Garlic is going to provide you relief from that stubborn cold and flu (yes, they absolutely love you and never want to leave). Taking 2-3 cloves of raw or cooked garlic a day or sipping some garlic tea (with a touch of honey or ginger to lift up the taste) is not only going to relieve a stuffed nose and cure a cold but also build your immunity against these frequent visitors over time. According to Dr. Shikha Sharma, Delhi-based Health and Wellness Expert, and founder of Nutrihealth say," One of the earliest uses of garlic was by meat-eaters because it was believed that meat could cause infection which garlic could fight off from the body. More commonly used by laborers who are exposed to infections and disease-friendly environments till recently, its plethora of health benefits has made white-collar workers also take to it." She added, "Garlic can be added to hot stews, broths and soups to fight sinusitis, cold and flu. And garlic is best had in its raw state."
Garlic is among the best foods for heart health. Studies have found that garlic reduces cholesterol and lowers lipid content in the blood. Experimental and clinical studies on the cardiovascular benefits of garlic have found it to have a positive effect on atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and thrombosis. Garlic also seems to possess the ability to prevent blood clots. Tests are currently underway to examine the mechanism of this effect.
Researchers have found that oral administration of garlic can lower blood pressure in both human and animal studies. Amazingly, there was a measurable response after just a single dose. Chronic oral administration of garlic has a long-term positive effect. Allicin seems to have a relaxing effect on the smooth muscle cells of the pulmonary artery, allowing the artery to open more fully. This doesn’t mean that you can switch to an all-bacon diet and expect to “garlic away” the consequences, but when combined with a balanced diet, garlic can substantially improve blood pressure.
Around the world, studies have found a correlation between a high intake of garlic and a lowered cancer risk. An increased consumption of garlic is associated with a reduction in cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, prostate, and breast. The United States National Cancer Institute has said that garlic may be the most effective food for cancer prevention.
Garlic may also provide significant benefits to those suffering from diabetes. Experimental studies have shown that garlic lowers blood glucose levels and this hypoglycemic effect has been replicated in animal studies. Treatment for humans is less studied but looks promising. Garlic has been reported to lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce insulin resistance. However, further study is needed to fully understand the effect garlic has on human blood glucose levels.
Garlic is one of the best food to help cleanse your liver. It can help mitigate the effects of fatty liver disease and provides hepatoprotective effects from certain toxic agents. Studies have found that garlic can protect liver cells from acetaminophen, gentamycin, and nitrates.
For centuries, traditional medicine has used garlic for its antimicrobial properties. Modern studies have found that the antibacterial properties of garlic are effective on salmonella, staph infections, Clostridium (the cause of botulism), Proteus, Mycobacterium, and H. pylori. Garlic has even been suggested as a treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Garlic’s action against harmful organisms doesn’t stop with bacteria. It’s antiprotozoal, antifungal, and even antiviral. In vitro studies have found that garlic is effective against influenza, cytomegalovirus, rhinovirus (the cause of the common cold), viral pneumonia, rotavirus, herpes simplex 1 and 2, and even HIV. Unfortunately, these results are only confirmed in test tube studies. How the active substances of garlic react to viruses inside the human system remains to be seen.
Studies of cold sufferers have found that those who consumed garlic extract experienced milder symptoms and shorter illness duration than placebo groups, but the exact mechanism behind this phenomena is still unclear. Further research is necessary to more fully understand the healing power of garlic.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage DNA and lead to poor health. Garlic contains potent antioxidants that fight these free radicals. When allicin breaks down, it produces an acid that reacts with and traps the free radicals. Researchers at Queens University in Ontario believe this may be the most powerful dietary antioxidant ever discovered.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of recipes that include garlic. However, the best way to absorb garlic’s health benefits is to consume it raw. Raw garlic can be a little intense for some, but there are several ways to dull the piquancy while retaining the full health benefits. My favorite is to add raw garlic to a dressing like the lemon garlic dressing used in this cabbage wedge recipe or the balsamic vinaigrette of this green bean salad.
Although it may sound a little odd to those who haven’t tried it, you can actually drink garlic.