Garlic has been used for its flavour, healing and therapeutic benefits for thousands of years, as far back as Ancient Egypt in fact.
Today we know that you can boost garlic’s health benefits simply by chopping and crushing the garlic and letting it rest for a bit. This is because of the sulphur compound Allicin that forms when garlic is prepared this way. It’s also what gives garlic its distinct smell.
Here are five great reasons why you should include garlic in your daily diet.
1. Treatment of the common cold
Garlic supplementation is known to boost the immune system and helps to prevent common illnesses like the flu and common cold. In a study published in American Family Physician, it was reported that when garlic is used with the intention of preventing disease it may decrease the frequency of colds in adults, but has no effect on the duration of symptoms.
2. Antibacterial and antiviral benefits
The antibacterial and antiviral benefits of garlic are perhaps its most well-known advantage. According to astudy published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, the compound Diallyl Sulphide found in garlic is 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics in fighting the Campylobacter bacteria, one of the most common causes of intestinal infections.
3. Improves iron metabolism
Garlic may also be able to improve the body’s metabolism of iron. Basically, it increases the body’s production of ferroportin, a protein that runs across the cell membrane and effectively supplies a bridge for iron to cross to leave the cell. This help keep iron in circulation.
4. Improves bone health
Garlic may offer some benefits for bone health by increasing estrogen levels in women. It has also been suggested that it has some effect on osteoarthritis. In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine, it was found that by giving a daily dose of dry garlic extract to menopausal women, a marker of estrogen deficiency was significantly decreased. Many of these studies have been done on rodents, however, and human studies are needed.
5. Can reduce blood pressure
Another great benefit of garlic is the reduction of high blood pressure, or hypertension. Anotherstudy published in the US National Library of Medicine, found that garlic extract (600-1 500mg) was equally as effective at reducing blood pressure as the drug Atenolol over a 24-week period. In some cases, garlic supplementation can work as well as regular medication. Please note however that many of these studies use high doses of extract to get these results and you should always consult your doctor before stopping your regular medication.