Just like onions, it’s twin brother garlic is equally beneficial for you. Belonging to Alliums family, this vegetable is highly helpful for you and not just adding taste to the foods. Like onions, garlic has a pungent smell which may deter you. But, this pungent odor is actually its forte just like the onions. Garlic is a root vegetable which has found its permanent place in various cuisines around the world. In today’s article, I will discuss the benefits of eating garlic and why it should be included in your daily diet.
Garlic is used as a medicine for a variety of diseases in ancient Chinese, Greek and Indian medical sciences, which also include Ayurveda. Studies and researches have confirmed the health benefits of this vegetable, due to which garlic is under the limelight now.
During my adolescent years, I used to have lots of pimples and acne. I have visited many dermatologists, but their medicines could do no good to me. I lost all hope, and then my granny suggested me the use of garlic. At first, I was reluctant to use garlic but then thank god I listened to her. Within just few days, I found that my skin is devoid of the unwanted marks and pimples and that my skin is also glowing. Yes, yes, I will talk about it in details in the present post.
Nutritional components of Garlic
Garlic contains little bit of everything we need. It contains several other nutrients, minerals, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 etc. You can use raw garlic and also cooked garlic. People generally prefer the cooked garlic due to its strong pungent smell.
According to USDA, 100 grams of garlic will have:
- Carbohydrates: 33.06 gm
- Fat: 0.5 gm
- Protein: 6.36 gm
- Calcium: 181 mg
- Magnesium: 25 mg
- Potassium: 401 mg
- Phosphorous: 153 mg
- Sodium: 17 mg
Surprising health benefits of eating Garlic
There are many benefits of eating a few cloves of garlic every day. Be it cardiovascular diseases or kidney problems, or digestive issues or infections, garlic can give you relief in many of the health issues. Ancient Chinese, Indian, Greek, Egyptian have used garlic in various ways and since time immemorial garlic is used till date to solve many illnesses.
According to Dr. Simran Saini, renowned Delhi based nutritionist
Antibiotic properties of garlic help in solving the digestive problems by getting rid of the unwanted toxins of the body. The high sulphur content also leads to the clearing of the blocked arteries, thus averting the cardiovascular diseases.
Eating a few cloves of garlic everyday can be seriously beneficial for your health. Let us take a look at some of the surprising health benefits of eating garlic.
Garlic is known for its blood purification abilities. The high sulphur content of garlic can reduce the metal toxicity of the blood, and purifies from within. A study was conducted on the employees of a car battery plant, and it was found that the toxicity of the blood is reduced by 19% due to the consumption of garlic. It can also reduce the other side effects of toxins, like headaches, nausea and high blood pressure. Do you have pimples and rough skin? Do you have dark circles and you need concealer to cover them up? Then cloves of garlic can surely help you. The majority of the skin issues are caused due to the presence of toxins in the blood. Garlic can help you to flush out the toxins from the body.
Age related issues like weaker bones and muscles, osteoarthritis can be resolved by the intake of garlic juice or extract. Garlic can increase the estrogen levels in females and thus giving stronger bones. Arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can be caused due to the inactive muscles and also bone weakness. Regular garlic intake can give you immense relief.
The antioxidant properties of Allicin present in garlic can reduce the level of cholesterol in blood. The high levels of LDL cholesterol can increase the blood pressure which in turn may lead to several heart diseases like heart attacks and strokes. If the blood pressure increases, then the heart has to take a lot of stress in pumping the blood through the blood vessels and arteries. The diastolic and systolic pressure has to be normalized to avert any cardiovascular complications.
As I have mentioned earlier, earlier civilizations used garlic to cure various diseases which also include fungal, bacterial and viral infections. Garlic can also be used to cure tapeworms’ infections in children. Minor rashes or infections, cold, flu, and there are several other illness that is caused by the pathogens. Garlic can boost the immunity and helps the body to ward off the infections.
Cold and flu
Founder of Nutrihealth, Delhi based nutritionist and wellness expert Dr Shikha Sharma says that garlic was first used by meat eaters because majority of infections can be caused due to the intake of meats. Infections like cold and flu are caused from bacteria or virus and other germs. Researchers have found out that the garlic intake can cure innumerable diseases, and relieve infections. Garlic can also cure and prevent migraines and sinus.
Oxidative damages in the body may be the root cause of the aging process and ageing diseases like dementia. Age related disorders like Alzheimer’s and Dementia can be averted by the daily use of garlic. The anti oxidizing properties of garlic help in keeping the nerve endings of your brain active and thus promote better brain functions. You may like to refer this report to learn more about Neuroprotective Effect of Garlic
Benefits of Garlic for skin and hair
I know this may come as a shocker for you. How can a stinky vegetable be good for your skin and hair? But, do not get shocked, this is actually true. The increase of free radicals in the body can reduce the levels of collagen in your skin. This may cause the loss of elasticity in the skin, giving rise to wrinkles, withered skin and rough skin. It is said that if you are eating garlic regularly, you are most likely to have tight and glowing skin.
Several skin problems like eczema, skin dryness, pigmentation, blemishes can be reduced by the same vegetable too. You all know the benefits of onion for hair, but garlic also works in the same fashion. Garlic extracts can be applied on the scalp to strengthen the hair roots, and thus reduce hair loss. It can also help in blood circulation and thus promote hair growth.
Is raw garlic more beneficial than cooked garlic?
The answer of the question is a big YES. When you are cooking the garlic in curries and other cuisine, you generally fry it in hot oil. Frying the garlic cloves can destroy the allicin, other compounds and vitamins present in garlic.
When you use garlic in cooking, you are using it for taste, and the smell of brown fried garlic tends to add unique smell top your food. On the other hand, raw garlic is much better because you are using the natural food itself without destroying the nutrients of the vegetable. You can boil the garlic cloves in water and then drink the water.
You can also soak the garlic cloves in water overnight, and then drink it in morning, in empty stomach. This is generally case while you are using the natural resources or the organic foods. Extra added oils, spices, deep fry, often destroy the nutritional value of the vegetables. You can have them raw, but obviously we you cannot eat all the vegetable in raw form like cucumber or onion.
Chewing raw garlic is good for you even though it may sound gross to you. While you are chewing raw garlic, you are directly consuming the nutrients, and also without any adulterations. Garlic consumption is generally referred as harmless, but there are some precautions that you can take.
How to eat garlic?
World Health Organization (WHO) recommends “a daily dose of two to five grams (about one clove) of fresh garlic, 0.4 to 1.2 grams of dried garlic powder, two to five milligrams of garlic oil, 300 to 1,000 milligrams of garlic extract, or other formulations that are equal to two to five milligrams of allicin”.
- You can boil the garlic cloves and then drink the water.
- Soak the garlic cloves overnight and then drink the water in the morning.
- You can use it in curries and other but do not deep fry them for the sake of the nutritional value.
- You can bake or sauté garlic, but not deep fry.
- You can add garlic paste in salad dressing, marinade, tomato soup or stew.
- You can use garlic bread or garlic flavored pasta of you love the smell of garlic.
Storage of garlic
Ever notice sprouts in garlic cloves? Well that’s because the condition you have stored in is not appropriate for the storage of garlic. Garlic should be ideally stored in cool and dry place. If the surrounding is moist, then there is high chance of sprouting or rotting. Do not refrigerate garlic.
Do not take garlic if you are taking blood-thinning medications, if you have thyroid or acidity problems, or bloating, or if you have ulcers. Garlic consumption can also interfere with certain anti-inflammatory drugs and certain contraceptives.
Over to you
A rare substance called allicin, which is found in garlic is known to cure blood clotting and lower bad cholesterol. It has low calories and has plenty of nutrients and medicinal properties. Garlic is truly beneficial for your health. Not only for taste, but you should east garlic for its health benefits. Garlic has plenty of medicinal properties and substances which can be beneficial in curing pimples, cold and flu, bone strengthening and much more.
I am sure, many of us eat garlic every day but if it’s not in your kitchen, maybe you should consider eating garlic.
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.