Widely used as flavouring in cooking, garlic (Allium Sativum) has been known for its therapeutic value for over 5,000 years. In ancient Greece, it was given to the olympic athletes to boost their stamina.
Medical studies supported the benefits of eating garlic for health and wellbeing. Personally, I rely on raw garlic to avoid catching flu, cold and fever all year round particularly in the winter season. I usually chop 2 to 3 cloves of garlic into tiny pieces and mix them with foods whenever I feel a bit under the weather. It is the simple and effective way to avoid being ill. If you eat garlic for its health benefits, remember not to cook or heat it as it will destroy the therapeutic properties.
Garlic reduces the risk of heart disease
Many experimental and clinical studies supported the use of garlic to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Garlic lowers blood pressure in more than 80% of people who suffer from hypertension. It significantly reduces LDL cholesterol levels and slightly improves HDL cholesterol levels. Eating garlic regularly helps prevent the hardening of the arteries while also improves the blood circulation and reduces the risk of heart disease.
For those who strongly dislike the smell of garlic, adding fresh lemon juice to the chopped garlic before mixing it with your foods helps reduce the smell.
Garlic Helps Prevent Cancer
Garlic contains potent bioactive compounds with antitumor properties. Studies showed that cancer cells are sensitive to garlic. Garlic protects the body's cells from free radicals and reduces DNA damage, therefore, it may help prevent the development of cancer cells. According to a study in China involving 709 men with 238 of them have been affected by prostate cancer, eating garlic 10g or more daily helps decrease the risk for prostate cancer. Garlic contains allicin, a compound with a strong odor and many health benefits.
Cancer weakens the body's immune system. The ability of garlic to boost the body's immune system may help increase the survival rate among cancer patients. Nevertheless, further studies are needed to understand precisely how garlic can be used for cancer treatment.
Garlic Reduces The Insulin Resistance
People who suffer from type 2 diabetes have the insulin resistance which causes high blood glucose levels in the body. It has been reported that garlic improves the body's sensitivity to insulin, hence, it is very beneficial for those who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
People of South Asian, Chinese and African origin are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Apart from the genetic conditions, being overweight or older than 40 years of age increases the risk for type 2 diabetes. If you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, eating raw garlic regularly helps reduce the risk.
Garlic Protects The Body from toxic chemicals
Liver is a vital organ which filters the blood and detoxifies the body. It removes toxic chemicals from the blood. Several studies highlighted the potential use of garlic in protecting liver from toxic substances. Although the exact mechanism is still not yet fully understood, eating garlic may help protect the body from toxic chemicals.
Garlic Boosts The Body's Immune System
Your body is constantly exposed to harmful microorganisms both from external and internal sources. In healthy individuals, these microorganisms are hardly hazardous. However, in people with a weak immune system, these pathogens can easily cause infection and trigger inflammation in the body. Inflammation is part of the body's defense mechanism to fight off the infection.
Studies showed that garlic has antibacterial, antifungal, anti-protozoal and antiviral properties that help boost the body's immune system. The regular consumption of garlic helps reduce the risk for infection, therefore, it helps prevent illness. According to various studies, garlic helps prevent the infection from the common cold virus known as coronavirus. However, coronaviruses come in different types, while garlic may prevent the infection from few types of coronaviruses, it may not be effective against all coronaviruses. For its health benefits, I personally prefer to eat garlic raw rather than cooked.
Henry Tianus is a multi-award-winning Anti-Ageing Scientist based in London, UK. Henry Tianus has been listed as The Recognised Institute Practitioner at The Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy (ITHMA), London (UK) since 2005. Henry Tianus's articles have been read by people in more than 100 countries with USA, UK and Singapore at the top of the list. Join Henry Tianus eNewsletter to receive the latest health and wellbeing tips.
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Scientific Sources: Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects, Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 2014 Jan-Feb: 4(1): 1–14; Medical News Today, Garlic: Proven benefits, 18 August 2017; Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey, Advances in Therapy, 2001 Jul-Aug: 18(4): 189-93; Allium vegetables and risk of prostate cancer: a population-based study, Journal of the National Cancer Institute (China), 2002 Nov 6: 94(21):1648-51.