5 Reasons You Need More Garlic in Your Diet!
There are many health benefits of garlic, and it’s one of the most powerful natural medicines on earth. Garlic has been shown to boost the immune system, prevent cancer cells from forming in the body, help regulate blood pressure levels, and much more! The many health benefits of garlic are only one reason why everyone should be eating it on a regular basis… find out what the top 5 benefits of garlic are here!
1) Antioxidant Properties
The health benefits of garlic are primarily due to its sulfur compounds, particularly allicin. The extract is anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-bacterial, which can aid with everything from heart disease to gum disease. In fact, people with an infection of any kind might want to try including a clove or two of garlic daily for about 10 days. It’s common for skin conditions and infections to improve after just a few days of including garlic in your diet. If you experience an improvement, it’s best to continue taking it long term for optimal results. Talk to your doctor before using if you have high blood pressure or if you’re pregnant or breast feeding.
2) Fights Infections
According to a 2013 study published by Prous Science, garlic extract has been shown to help reduce inflammation of oral tissue caused by infection with Streptococcus mutans. Several species of bacteria are known to cause tooth decay and gum disease, including S. mutans, so fighting off these invaders is an important part of keeping your mouth healthy. For example, if you’re coming down with a cold or flu, garlic extract can provide natural relief from your symptoms while also killing harmful pathogens. Although it’s not approved by the FDA as a remedy for colds and other infections (you shouldn’t take it if you have high blood pressure or heart problems), many people swear that it helps keep them healthy during sickness season—and much more besides.
3) Lowers Cholesterol
Many studies have shown that garlic can help lower cholesterol by reducing its absorption from foods, as well as preventing cholesterol synthesis. Not only that but it has been proven to reduce total LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) while raising HDL cholesterol (the good kind). A word of caution though, garlic is not a substitute for other medications and should not be used without first consulting your doctor. Check out our cooking with garlic recipes here.
Studies have also shown garlic’s positive effects on blood pressure too. Consuming three to five grams of fresh garlic for 12 weeks was able to reduce systolic blood pressure levels an average of 4% among otherwise healthy participants. That being said, before you start taking large quantities of allicin in supplement form or consuming large amounts daily, speak with your doctor about side effects you might experience because some people may experience stomach aches after eating large doses over long periods of time. Also keep in mind that if you’re taking any blood thinners like aspirin or warfarin, consult your doctor before adding extra allicin into your diet.
4) Prevents Cancer
As an antioxidant, garlic helps prevent certain types of cell damage that can lead to cancer. For many types of cancer, including stomach, colon, mouth and throat cancers, studies have shown that eating more garlic can lower your risk. Studies also show eating garlic regularly reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence by 50%. As with any other preventative measure for cancer, it’s never too early to start adding more cloves to your diet. In addition to its health benefits, garlic is a delicious flavor enhancer—whether you sauté or grill foods or enjoy it raw on salads. To make sure you get enough every day, add at least one clove of garlic to every meal. It’s good on just about anything—meat, fish, eggs and veggies. Start small if you need to—and work your way up until you are enjoying at least two cloves per day (the average amount used in studies). And don’t worry if you’re not a fan at first; while most people do find they enjoy its flavor after trying it several times over a period of time.
5) Promotes Heart Health
According to an extensive body of research, garlic helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also reduces plaque buildup that can cause atherosclerosis, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Other studies have shown that daily consumption of garlic helps reduce triglyceride levels and prevent blood clots from forming. The anticlotting effects of garlic have been attributed to its high content of allyl sulfides, as well as its overall antioxidant potential. Allyl sulfides are known to inhibit platelet aggregation (blood clot formation) while simultaneously boosting nitric oxide (NO) production in your arteries—the combination of these two effects is why garlic has been shown to prevent blood clots from forming, which could help decrease your risk for heart attack or stroke.