One of my all-time favorite smells is garlic filling the room when it hits a pan and begins to sizzle. If you’re like me, you can appreciate that all good savory recipes start with garlic, olive oil, and a nice flame on the range. I know you know what I’m talking about. What you may not know are the many benefits that come from eating garlic.
People have known for centuries that garlic combats infections and disease. Its antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties make it an all-around superb natural healer. Newly focused research has shown that garlic is fantastic for a myriad of issues and may even fight cancer.
Garlic is a member of the allium family, and as such, contains a sulfuric compound called allicin. This is what makes it a powerhouse in the fight against cancer.
Garlic should be eaten raw, or as close to raw as possible, to get the full effect of allicin. When cooking with garlic, chop it before you begin to prep your other ingredients. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, which will give the allicin adequate time to release before you pop it in the sauté pan. Whether you cook it as a base for other ingredients or mince it and add it to homemade salad dressing or meat, garlic is amazing for your health. Let’s look at three ways that garlic can make your life better.
Garlic contains sulfuric compounds that decrease inflammatory skin issues like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. I get that smelling like garlic is probably not top on your list of how to get great skin (or a date, for that matter), but a simple mask of coconut oil and garlic can do wonders for your skin. Should acne be a problem for you, you can peel and cut a clove of garlic and rub a slice of it over the affected area.
Way More Energy
Consuming garlic prior to hitting the gym might seem a wee bit odd, but you might want to give it a go! Garlic is packed with nutrients like vitamins B6 and C, manganese, selenium, and fiber. You get all of those benefits without a heavy calorie load, and you’ll even get a small bit of carbs and protein from it.
Garlic does your heart good, too. Research shows that consuming an amount comparable to four cloves was actually as powerful as a high blood pressure drug called Atenolol. Because smart red blood cells can turn the sulfuric compounds of garlic into hydrogen sulfide gas, blood pressure is lowered and blood vessels are widened.
Garlic also gives the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) a kick in the pants to the tune of lowering it by as much as 15%. It’s also been shown to prevent atherosclerosis, a cardiac disease that deposits plaque on the artery walls, which causes a hardening of the arteries and restricted blood flow.
Sick and Tired? Never!
Garlic is your immune system’s friend. Seriously. A study that took place during the height of the cold season in the UK discovered that those participants who used garlic had 60% fewer colds. Not only that, but the duration of the colds was shorter.
Try steeping crushed garlic, lemon, and honey in hot water for an extremely effective cold remedy. Fancy that! Tea time isn’t just for our friends across the pond anymore.
Garlic is a superhero antioxidant against which inflammation-causing free radicals don’t stand a chance. Increased inflammation in the body can be a springboard for a whole slew of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Garlic is also a must-have for anyone suffering from an autoimmune disease.
Garlic is useful against heavy metals in the blood, too. Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury are all heavy metals that can come from a variety of sources such as lead paint ingestion, food, unsuitably coated food containers, medicines, industrial exposures, and air or water pollution. They can poison you and wreak havoc on your body. A study showed that use of garlic led to a 19% decrease in the blood lead concentration in men who worked in a battery factory.
While I don’t like to talk about too many disgusting topics, there’s one I must address: sometimes food has parasites and bacteria in it. I know, gross. But regular intake of garlic can combat the negative effects those little guys can have on your system. Research shows that fresh garlic can treat E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Salmonella enteritidis.
Used topically, garlic ground into a paste and combined with coconut oil can help with areas of the skin impacted by parasites or worms. Athlete’s foot and jock itch can also be treated with an addition of garlic to your diet.
Okay, let’s get back to the good stuff. I’ve used garlic not only in tea form and in cooking, as I mentioned before, but I’ve also thrown a couple of cloves in the blender with olive oil, some fresh raspberries, a bit of apple cider vinegar, and raw honey to make a delightful and healthy vinaigrette.
There are so many wonderful ways to incorporate garlic into your life. It’s been around for a very long time and has been used by humans for its healthy and distinctive benefits. Bottom line, garlic is a delicious addition to any diet and can be used in a variety of ways. So go on, try a little today and feel amazing tomorrow!