There is hardly any cuisine of which garlic is not a part of. From drinks to savories to garnishing, it is a multipurpose food and is known for its peculiar taste and aroma. Besides culinary benefits, garlic is often known as “Nutritional Superstar” among food experts, dietitians, and holistic nutritionists for its great benefits to health.
What actually is Garlic and Where it came from?
Garlic is a herb belonging to genus Allium sativum and was native to Siberia some 5000 years ago. A relative of onion, chives, and leeks garlic is a common herb that is grown all around the world. The father of Western medicine Hippocrates used garlic in various medicines and till date, it is often used in home remedies and effective medicines. Garlic was popular among Egyptians where they used it for culinary purposes and used to bury it with their dead too.
We cannot wait to tell you about the stunning nutritional profile of this amazing herb, let’s get started.
Nutritional Profile of Garlic
One medium sized clove (3g) is one serving and you will be surprised to see the nutritional value that it carries, have a look:
- Total calories: 4.5g
- Carbohydrates: 1g
- Fats: 0g
- Fiber: 0.1g
- Proteins: 0.2g
- Sodium: 0.5g
- Potassium: 11mg
- Magnesium: 1mg
- Vitamin C: 0.9mg
- Iron: 0.05mg
- Sugar: 0.03g
- Manganese: 2% of DV
- Vitamin C: 1% of DV
- Selenium: 1% of DV
- Vitamin B6: 2% of DV
Benefits of Garlic
From being used for medicinal purposes in ancient Egypt to relieving symptoms of coronavirus today, garlic has come a long way. Let’s look at some amazing benefits of this herb:
1. Immune System Booster
If you want to give your immune system a boosting punch, garlic is the herb for you. Garlic bulbs contain a compound known as allicin and alliinase that carry immunity boosting power. A clinical study proved that the incidence of common cold reduced by 63% upon using a garlic supplement daily for 12 weeks. It is now proved by evidence that garlic reduces the severity of flu and common cold while also preventing it. Research shows that the total length of common cold was reduced as much as 70% (from 5 days to 1.5 days) by using garlic.
2. Lowering Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is known as a silent killer around the world and leads to cardiovascular problems like heart attack and stroke. Studies have proved that incorporating garlic symptoms in your diet lowers the numbers in people with high blood pressure. In a long 24 weeks study, it was proved that adding around 600-1500mg of an aged garlic extract in the diet of people with blood pressure was proved to be as effective as the drug Atenolol. For people who do not like supplements, they must consume four cloves of garlic a day.
3. Improving Heart Health
Garlic is a proven heart friendly food. With age, the blood vessels in our body lose the elasticity which causes a common cardiovascular problem known as hardening of blood vessels. Garlic when taken regularly exerts a relaxant effect on them. Not only this, garlic taken regularly reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood while there is no effect on the good cholesterol (HDL). This effect occurs usually after 8 week of dosage. Both of these effects coupled with reduction of blood pressure makes it a super heart friendly food.
4. Beneficial for Skin
Garlic has some amazing healing benefits for skin. Garlic when applied on the skin in a gel form prevents skin problems like ringworm, Jock itch and Athlete’s foot. Garlic has also been shown to prevent acne and to give you a clear skin.
5. Brain Health
Garlic contains certain antioxidants that besides other health benefits, cuts down the risk factor for certain brain disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Garlic also improves memory, brain function as well as the blood flow to the brain.
There is no direct link of long life and garlic intake but it is an established fact that garlic lowers the blood pressure and contains antioxidants that are disease preventive and super beneficial for health. So, calling it a longevity food won’t be wrong.
7. Performance Enhancer
Garlic has the title of the oldest performance enhancer. Yes, this is true! The ancient Greek Olympic athletes used it to enhance their stamina. Even today, it is being used by athletes to combat exercise induced fatigue. Garlic releases nitric oxide in the blood which is often released during exercise; this nitric oxide increases oxygen supply to the muscles. So, it’s time to add some garlic in the diet, isn’t it?
8. Improving bone Health
This may sound bizarre to many but it is true. Garlic does improve bone health especially in women. A study was carried out in menopausal women which showed that bone loss in women is decreased by the consumption of dry garlic on a daily basis as it increases estrogen production. This shows that garlic plays a role in improving the bone health in women. Garlic is also beneficial in osteoarthritis as proved by the study.
Side Effects of Garlic
Garlic is considered safe for almost everyone with no serious side effects. However, one must take care while applying directly to skin as it may cause burning sensations, rashes or even blisters in some. In children, taking large doses of garlic by mouth is considered unsafe. Also, diabetic must consult their doctor before incorporating it in their diet as it may lower their blood sugar levels to a dangerously low level.
Garlic is an amazing gift to us by nature. A small clove of this miraculous herb carries so many benefits in it. Imagine just 3 to 4 cloves a day can bring drastic changes to your health. Not only this, the healing powers of garlic are being benefited from centuries. So, when are you going to the supermarket to get yours?