I’m a self-proclaimed garlic addict. I’ll put it in just about everything I can (meats, eggs, vegetables, soups, roasted and spread on a bagel, in guacamole…. The list really is endless, and if I could figure out a way to work it into desserts as well I probably would) to improve the flavour and reap all of the wonderful health benefits that this lovely little flavour bulb has to offer.
Garlic was used as a medicine long before it was ever thought of being used as a flavour booster though – The Chinese, Babylonians, Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, and Indians all medicated with the herb whenever they were starting to fall ill (with just about anything – It was even given to the original Olympic Greek athletes as a performance enhancer).
If you’re not a fan of the (some people may call it a little potent) herb, you might change your mind after finishing this article. If you enjoy eating garlic now but don’t yet know about all the benefits you’re getting, you’re probably going to up your intake once you realize all that it has to offer you.
7 Reasons To Start Eating More Garlic Today
It Might Help Improve Your Bone Health
While there haven’t actually been any studies done on humans, studies on rats have shown that this herb could minimize bone loss in females by increasing their estrogen levels.
There was one study done with menopausal women that were given a daily dose of dry garlic extract that was equal to 2 grams of raw garlic. That study found that that dose significantly decreased a marker of estrogen deficiency. The moral? If you’re a woman – regardless of your age – You definitely need to start consuming more of this stuff. Our bones need all the help we can get, especially as we get older.
It Helps Improve Your Cholesterol Levels
If you’re someone that has problems with your cholesterol and you’ve been looking for a way to start getting it down naturally, you’ve found exactly that with garlic.
It seems to reduce your total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels by about 12% (That might sound like a lot, but every little bit helps when it comes to lowering those numbers and ensuring that you live a long and healthy life). It doesn’t seem to lower your triglyceride levels though (another huge risk factor for heart disease). It’s also worth mentioning that it doesn’t seem to alter your HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels in any way.
And Reduces Your Blood Pressure Levels
Which – when combines with the improvement of your cholesterol levels – can decrease your risk of eventually suffering a heart attack or stroke (two of the world’s biggest killers in North America) tenfold.
However, you might want to consider investing in supplements if you want to reap these benefits though unless you really like garlic – You’d have to eat about four cloves a day to get them naturally. That said, this 24 week study was done and it showed that aged garlic extract given in 600-1500mg doses was equally effective as Atenolol – a commonly prescribed beta blocker.
That’s not to say that you’re going to be able to take yourself off all of your medication by simply eating garlic or taking a garlic supplement, but it could certainly be a first step to getting off that medication and giving your body what it needs naturally.
It Helps Boost Your Immune System
Cold and flu season will be here faster than you know (and I’m sure if you’ve got little ones in school it’s probably already made a round or two through your house), and while there are a few different things you’ll want to have on hand when it strikes, garlic should definitely be toward the top of the list.
Eating garlic and/or taking a garlic supplement on a daily basis can reduce your risk of contracting a cold by up to 63% (and it also helps you recover up to 70% faster if you do happen to unfortunately catch one).
I highly recommend a daily garlic supplement for the entire family during the months of October through April (or whatever the winter season happens to be whenever you are – In Canada it happens to be exceptionally lengthy), especially if you or someone else In your family is super susceptible to getting sick every time someone within a ten mile radius happens to sneeze.
It’s Incredibly Nutritious
Garlic contains (at least trace components) of just about every single thing our bodies need to function flawlessly. A one ounce serving contains 23% of your daily recommended dose of manganese, 17% of the vitamin B6 your body needs in a day, 15% of the vitamin C, 6% of the selenium, a gram of fiber, and a whole lot more.
If you’re someone that counts calories or carbs, you’ll be happy with the numbers you see as well – A one ounce serving only has 9 grams of carbs, is 42 calories, and even has 1.8 grams of protein in it (which makes it a perfect addition to your post workout rice or pasta).
The Antioxidants In It Might Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
And Dementia. Plus, we all know how much of a role antioxidants play in the battle against cell damage and aging. When you combine these powerful antioxidants along with the combating against bad cholesterol and high blood pressure, and you’ve got a recipe to help your body combat against cancers, common brain diseases (and wrinkles!)
It’s Super Easy To Work Into Your Diet
I’m going to wrap this article up with a short list of things that you can start adding garlic to later, but the long and short of it is this – Garlic (as far as I know) is readily available just about everywhere; it’s cheap, it’s convenient, and it can be worked into a lot more than you think. Garlic is actually a part of the onion family (Personally I’m not a huge fan of onions but I eat them because of their benefits… And I definitely make up for what I don’t eat in garlic consumption).
These Benefits Are Maximized When You Consume (Or Prepare) The Garlic Properly
Garlic contains a sulphur compound called allicin which is formed when a raw clove of garlic is crushed or cleaved (this same compound is what gives the garlic its distinct smell). It enters your body when you ingest it and travels throughout your entire bloodstream, giving you all those benefits we just talked about.
In order to get the most out of your garlic (therapeutically), is one to two cloves of garlic (organic if possible – it’s super easy to grow your own in your kitchen) consumed with each meal. If you want to add your garlic to a recipe, you should crush and chop it and then leave it sitting for about ten minutes to get the maximum amount of allicin out of it. Raw is best and if that’s not possible, throw it into your food in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Of course, raw isn’t the only way that we’re able to purchase garlic nowadays, is it? You can also choose to get your capsules via powder, pastes, supplements, or oil extract. If you’re concerned about getting bad breath or “stinking” from consuming raw garlic (this is probably the most common argument there is), opt for the capsules – Apparently they carry the least “scent lingering” rep.
But Before You Start Eating A Head Of Garlic A Day
There are a couple of things you should consider. First of all, some people are allergic to garlic, so if you’re someone that’s never consumed it before (after running a quick poll on my personal Facebook wall, it turns out that these people apparently do exist), you should probably book an appointment with your doctor to make sure that you’re not one of those people.
Additionally, If you take blood thinning medications, are anemic, or if your have any other blood disorder, you should definitely check with your doctor before upping your garlic intake because of it’s anti-inflammatory properties.
Simple Ways To Work Garlic Into Your Daily Diet
I wasn’t kidding when I said I put it into just about everything I can, but I’m also aware that not everyone is going to be as keen on everything being garlicky as I am. That said, here are a few fail proof things that you can do with garlic (just remember to leave it sitting out for a bit if cooking):
– Raw, on pasta with a little bit of all natural, organic butter and fresh grated parmesan.
– Crushed, then roasted and spread on bread (or a bagel) with avocado, tomato, cheddar cheese, organic bacon and/or turkey.
– Raw (or added to the last five minutes) on rice with vegetables.
– DIY garlic bread
– In mashed potatoes.
– In soups or stews.
– Add to your gravy once you’re finished heating it up.
– Use it on/in red as well as white meats.
– To give any dish that you think is feeling a little “blah” a little extra something special.
– Add to homemade hamburgers.
– Gives your guacamole some kick.
– Chop up a bunch and add it to some EVOO – Use it as a healthy salad dressing and/or a bread dip that’s to die for.
– Homemade hummus.
There are so many more things I could list, but that should get you off to a pretty good start. Now that you’re equipped with all of the knowledge you need; go forth and be healthy with the power that is garlic – You won’t even notice the smell (and really – Who cares what other people think, anyway?).
Do you take garlic on a regular basis? What are some of the health benefits you’ve experienced since starting to? Alternatively – What’s your personal favourite way to work garlic into your meals and/or snacks? We absolutely love hearing from you guys, so let us know what you think in the comments section!