Garlic is a common kitchen ingredient often used to add flavor to dishes. Garlic belongs to the Allium family which includes onions, shallots, chives and leeks. Garlic is bulbous in shape, comprising of 10 to 20 individual segments called cloves. Garlic has been known for its medicinal properties from the times of the Egyptian, Greek, Chinese and the Roman civilizations. Alison as the sulfur compound found in garlic that is responsible for its therapeutic effects. Eating raw garlic is beneficial over cooked because cooking inactivates the enzyme alliinaase responsible for producing Alison.
Health benefits of raw garlic
1. Combats flu and common cold
Garlic is a herbal immunity booster that protects the body from catching the seasonal flu and common cold. It enhances the body's ability to fight against flu viruses. Regular intake of crushed raw garlic cloves with honey has shown positive antiviral effects.
2. Regulates cholesterol levels
Garlic is known for its cholesterol-lowering effects. It can significantly reduce total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol levels thereby reducing the risk of various heart diseases like stroke and heart attack. It is also a natural blood thinning agent and lowers the risk of atherosclerosis.
3. Reduces blood pressure
Garlic is recognized as a blood-pressure depressor and has been used as a natural medicine to lower blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular diseases since a long time. High doses of raw garlic extracts have shown similar effects in lowering blood pressure as its chemical counterpart. Eating three to four cloves of raw garlic each day is the recommended dose for effective results against hypertension.
4. Fights skin infections
Raw garlic is also effective against skin infections warts and pimples. Sulphur present in raw garlic prevents infection and helps in reducing inflammation. Apply garlic juice mixed with equal amount of apple cider vinegar on the acne affected areas of the skin or sprinkle garlic powder over the affected area to reduce infection. You can also try garlic aloe vera facemask to get rid of pimples and blemishes. Warts can be removed by putting a garlic slice bandage over it each night till it goes away. The antiseptic properties of garlic water and garlic oil can prevent wound infections, heal scabs.
5. prevents cancer
Eating raw garlic in higher amounts is found to be associated with lowering the risk of certain cancers. Studies have shown antineoplastic effects against stomach, breast and colon cancers. The Allium content in garlic is found to exert protective effects against free radical oxidation reducing the risk of developing cancers.
6. Prevents Alzheimer's and dementia
Garlic is rich in antioxidants that help prevent oxidative damage to cells due to free radicals. This property of antioxidant enzymes present in garlic reduces oxidative stress in brain cells, thus reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease in dementia at a later age. It is advised to take a higher dosage of raw garlic regularly to prevent these chronic cognitive illnesses.
7. Acts as natural antibiotic
Garlic is known to have antibacterial and antibiotic properties it helps in eliminating bacterial and fungal infections like diarrhea, Candida infections, athlete's foot and sore throat. Eating raw garlic daily aids in decreasing the intensity of infections and cure them effectively.
8. Improves bone and joint health
Eating garlic may help in minimizing bone degeneration in women by increasing the production of the hormone estrogen. Garlic improves estrogen levels in menopausal women thus, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. It also improves bone and joint health by showing therapeutic effect against osteoarthritis. Those suffering from low bone density are recommended to consume garlic regularly in the form of juice capsules or powder to improve their bone health.
9. Enhances athletic ability
Garlic supplementation can improve athletic performance. Considerably, it is one of the ancient substances used to enhance performance. It was used to reduce fatigue and improve working ability. Studies have shown that regular supplementation with garlic oil improves exercise capacity and decreases peak heart rate. It is also found to reduce exercise induced fatigue .
10. Protect against metal toxicity
High amount of Allison and other sulfur compounds in garlic protect against heavy metal toxicity. They help reduce organ damage due to exposure to heavy metals. Garlic was found to significantly reduce lead levels in the blood when taken in high amounts. It also controls toxicity related symptoms like a headache and high blood pressure. It is advised to include 3 doses of garlic every day in the diet to get beneficial results.