Garlic: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Garlic: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Overview

Garlic has been regarded as a natural remedy which has been applied for the treatment of many ailments.

Undeniably, people can find garlic in many countries and it becomes an indispensible part of culinary culture.

More importantly, people can either include garlic in their food or consume it alone.

In addition to culinary use, medicinal properties make garlic one of the most popular-used herbs throughout history.

And these effects have been constantly confirmed by scientific evidences recently.

This article will shed light on nutrition facts and top 10 Benefits of Garlic.

Nutrition Facts

Garlic - Nutrition Facts

Garlic, a species in the onion genus, is native to central Asia.

Garlic appears in many parts of the world thanks to its cooking properties and health effects.

Clearly, no one is unfamiliar with the appearance of garlic.

If garlic bulb indicates its entire “head”, garlic cloves are its segments.

Averagely, 10-20 cloves are included in a single bulb (1).

Nutritionally, garlic is a good friend of health.

Garlic is low in calories and very rich in manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium and fiber.

As a result,  people believe that garlic can help with health improvement.

On the other hand, though existing in moderate quantity, other nutrients in garlic still gives people some amazing health benefits.

Moreover, garlic consists of a variety of potent sulphur-containing compounds, one of which is allicin.

The appearance of allicin  may result in garlic’s distinct smell (2).

This substance  enters the body from digestive tract and accompanies with biological effects (3).

Bottom line: Garlic belongs to the onion family and has both cooking and health effects. It is high in many nutrients, especially allicin.

Health Benefits of Garlic

Following are top 10 Benefits of Garlic which you should know.

1. Common Cold

Garlic - Common Cold

The ability to fight common cold is one of the most well-known benefits of garlic.

1 billion people is estimated to get a common cold each year.

This problem is characterized by a number of symptoms including sore throat, swelling sinuses, sneezing, etc (4).

As a result, it prevents people from working as well as studying well.

Some measures to fight off cold symptoms range from home remedies to certain medicines.

Also, certain foods can help with common cold, one of which is garlic.

In fact, garlic supplementation can boost immunity function.

Result from a 12-week study has revealed that garlic provided relief from common cold symptoms by 63% in comparison with placebo (5).

A high dose of garlic extract appeared in a different study.

Result showed that it could lead to 61-percent reduction in the duration of cold or fly (6).

Bottom line: Some studies have suggested that garlic supplementation can treat common cold well.

2. Sinus Infection

The massive benefits of garlic has made it one of the best ingredients for sinus infection.

Sinus infection has scientific name as sinusitis.

It means that your sinuses are inflamed (7).
Commonly, sinus infection is associated with allergies, congestion, pain, headache, facial pressure and so on.

In addition to a lot of natural home remedies, garlic is an easily available and simple method to treat sinus infection.

Garlic is believed to clear bacterial infection which is responsible for sinus infection.

Following are some steps to create garlic oil for the treatment of sinus infection.

  • Pour some olive oil in a saucepan.
  • Add crushed garlic into this.
  • Put the pan in the stove under medium-low heat.
  • Leave it on some minutes before turning off the flame.
  • Let to oil get cool in some minutes.
  • Strain the liquid into an airtight container.
  • Use the oil to apply into the areas around the nose, chest, neck and forehead.
  • Apply garlic oil daily and enjoy better outcome.

3. Blood Pressure

Undeniably, some cardiovascular diseases are believed to be the leading catalyst for death around the world (8).

In fact, high blood pressure or scientifically called hypertension can easily lead to these problems.

Fortunately, people can actually protect themselves from high blood pressure with simple ingredients like garlic.

Several human studies have concluded that using garlic supplements  made a contribution to the reduction in blood pressure (9, 10).

Also, a scientific study has proved that 600-1500mg of garlic extract can cope with high blood pressure as effectively as Atenolol.

Atenolol is a regular medication is used primarily in hypertension (11).

Bottom line: High doses of garlic are likely to lead to the improvement in the condition of high blood pressure.

4. Heart Disease

It has been speculated that one of the mechanisms behind benefits of garlic is its ability to improve heart health.

In reality, garlic can reduce the level of LDL cholesterol which can do harm to heart health (12).

According to results from a number of research, garlic supplementation resulted in 10-15 percent decrease in both total and LDL cholesterol level (13, 14, 15) .
Compared to HDL cholesterol, LDL witnesses more significant impacts of  garlic (16, 17, 18).

However,  garlic does not seem to reduce triglyceride levels – an underlying reason for heart disease (19, 20).

Bottom line: While garlic supplementation appears to take effects on high LDL cholesterol levels , it is not effective for HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

5. Alzheimer’s Disease

There are some other effective impacts of garlic on our health, besides the improvement in heart disease.

In fact, free radicals may cause oxidative damage which is responsible for aging process.

The antioxidants in garlic can support protective mechanisms of the body and thus, help you stay away from oxidative damage (21).

Also, antioxidant properties in garlic together with impacts on lowering cholesterol level are effective in preventing Alzheimer’s disease (22).

Bottom line: Thanks to abundant source of antioxidants, garlic can set a limitation to cell damage and aging. Also, it is beneficial for  the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

6. Lifespan

Whether garlic can extend the lifespan of humans remains controversial.

However, just looking at the health benefits of garlic on blood pressure, it is logical that garlic can help people live longer.

Also, garlic’s ability to help with infectious disease is also a key factor.

This is because these diseases are blamed for the death, especially in the old as well as people with poor immunity function.

7. Physical Performance

Garlic - Physical Performance

Another benefit of garlic which is popularly known is to serve as a tool for enhancing physical performance.

Facts have shown that garlic could reduce fatigue and improve the workers’ work capacity.

Also, this “performance enhancing” substance was even administered to Olympic athletes in the history of Greece (23).

In a 6 – week study, participants with heart disease get used to using garlic oil.

The result showed that they gained improvement in exercise capacity and 12-percent reduction in heart rate (24).

A different study on 9 cyclists, however, witnessed no positive changes in their performance (25).

8. Heavy Metals in the Body

If you take high doses of garlic supplementation, you will be able to protect your organs against damage which comes from heavy metal toxicity.

Due to richness in sulfur compounds of garlic, it can significantly control toxicity process.

A 4-week study did a research on the employees of a car battery plant.

It showed that those who took garlic supplementation had a 19-percent reduction of lead levels in their blood (26).

Moreover, garlic can assist in reducing several clinical signs of toxicity including pressure and headache.

9. Bone Health

Garlic - Bone Health

In fact, there is still no human study which support for garlic’s effect on bone loss.

On the other hand, studies which were done on rodent concluded that the use of garlic can control bone loss (27, 28, 29, 30).

Plus, menopausal women were involved in a study.

Result suggested that a daily dose of dry garlic extract could address estrogen deficiency which could trigger bone-related problems (31).

Bottom line: Although garlic seems to bring positive changes to bone condition, further studies on human are necessary for hard confirmation.

10. Weight Loss

When it comes to benefits of garlic, people usually refer to its function in the process of losing weight.

In order to have a desired body, people usually cut off their food in daily diet, which can cause unavoidable hunger and craving.

To solve this problem, take in garlic as a substitute as it is low in calories but very high in nutrients including vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C, fiber, calcium (32).

These substances can stop your brain from sending signal of the need to eat.

Take Home Message

In fact, garlic is very easy to include in your diet.

Commonly, garlic may become ingredient for soups and sauces.

Garlic can exist under many forms including garlic cloves, garlic paste, garlic powders, garlic extract or garlic oil, etc.

However, remember to gargle your mouth after consuming garlic because it may cause bad breath.

Also, people with bleeding disorder may consult doctor if they want to increase their garlic intake.

Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.

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