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 is endless, and if I could figure out a way to work it into desserts as well I probably would) to improve the flavor and reap all of the wonderful health benefits that this lovely little flavor bulb has to offer.
Garlic was used as a medicine long before it was ever thought of being used as a flavor 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).
- ? Historical Medicinal Use: Garlic was historically utilized for its medicinal benefits by various ancient cultures, even given to ancient Olympic Greek athletes.
- ? Bone Health Benefits: Garlic can potentially help minimize bone loss, especially in females, and improve estrogen levels.
- ❤️ Heart Health: Garlic can reduce LDL cholesterol by around 12%, and regular intake can significantly reduce blood pressure.
- ?️ Boosted Immunity: Consuming garlic can reduce the chances of getting a cold by up to 63% and aids in faster recovery.
- ? Rich Nutrition: Garlic is nutrient-dense, offering a significant portion of daily required vitamins and minerals in just a one-ounce serving.
7 Reasons To Start Eating More Garlic Today
If you’re not a fan of the (some people may call it a little potent) herb, you might change your mind after reading our top 7 reasons to eat garlic. If you enjoy it already but don’t yet know about all the benefits you’re getting, you’ll probably up your intake once you realize all that it has to offer you.
Improves Your Bone Health
Much like jumping and rebounding, consuming garlic (or taking a supplement) is something all women and men might want to consider working into their morning routine seriously.
While there haven’t 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 who 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 who 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.
Reduces Your Blood Pressure Levels
When combined with improving your cholesterol levels, garlic 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’ll be able to take yourself off all of your medication by simply eating garlic or taking a garlic supplement. Still, it could be a first step to getting off that medication and naturally giving your body what it needs.
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 or taking a garlic supplement daily 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 catch one, unfortunately).
I highly recommend a daily garlic supplement for the entire family during 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.
Garlic is Incredibly Nutritious
Garlic contains (at least trace components) just about everything 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 daily, 15% of the vitamin C, 6% of the selenium, a gram of fiber, and much more.
If you’re someone who 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).
Garlic Antioxidants 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 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.
Increased Benefits When Consumed (Or Prepared) Properly
Garlic contains a sulfur compound called allicin, formed when a raw clove of garlic is crushed or cleaved (this same compound gives the garlic its distinct smell). It enters your body when you ingest it and travels throughout your bloodstream, giving you all the benefits we just discussed.
To get the most out of your garlic (therapeutically), 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. Raw is best; 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 we can purchase garlic nowadays, is it? You can also 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), opt for the capsules – They carry the least “scent lingering” rep.
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 who’s never consumed it before (after running a quick poll on my personal Facebook wall, it turns out that these people 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 your have any other blood disorder, you should check with your doctor before upping your garlic intake because of its 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 will 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 (remember to leave it sitting out for a bit if cooking):
- Raw, on pasta with a little all-natural, organic butter and freshly 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.
- Give any dish 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.
I could list many more things, but that should get you off to a pretty good start. Now that you’re equipped with all the knowledge you need, go forth and be healthy with the power of garlic – you won’t even notice the smell (and really, who cares what other people think, anyway?).