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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

11 Amazing Health Benefits of Garlic (Backed by Science)

11 Amazing Health Benefits of Garlic (Backed by Science)

What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of garlic? You probably think of the smell. You might have even been reminded of a junior high trauma after the garlic smell scared off your crush. Or you could even think of a high-end cuisine that was spiced up with this incredible delicacy. However, I bet you didn’t think of the incredible, science-backed health benefits of garlic, a potent vegetable (and yes…garlic is technically a vegetable and not a spice).

Throughout this article, prepare to have you mind blown with the potential of garlic and how this “natural supplement” can power up your life!

1. Potent Medicine

While we might think of garlic as a mere spice today, people in ancient times used it primarily as medicine!

According to science, most of the benefits are caused by the “sulfur compounds formed when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed or chewed”[1].

Because of these properties, garlic can help with detoxification and the health of our joints. If that doesn’t leave you wanting to pop some garlic along with your supplements, I don’t know what will!

2. Improves Blood Flow

A 2004 study came to the conclusion that garlic intake helped to significantly increase blood flow to various areas of the body[2]. The study suggested that this was due to the way garlic affected levels of interleukin-6, a chemical that affects inflammation in the body. Whatever the reason, increased blood flow is a major health benefit of garlic!

3. Boosts the Immune System

I’m sure this one doesn’t come as much of a surprise! Ever since many of us were kids, we were fed garlic at the first onset of a cold! One study discovered that, in a 12-week timespan, daily garlic pills reduced the number of cold by 63% compared to a placebo[3].

Evidence for this was based on both traditional use and some evidence that garlic contains both antimicrobial and anti-viral properties.

Needless to say, garlic could be an essential powerhouse to keep in your arsenal!

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4. Boosts Metabolism

I’m sure you all were wondering, so here it is. YES! Garlic does actually help boost metabolism!

I’m sure you might be wondering how. The first way is that it comes packed with vitamin C, B6, manganese, and calcium, all of which are essential for fat loss. Second is that garlic can lower insulin resistance, which is such an important factor for a healthy metabolism and weight! Not only that, but garlic also can be helpful to detox our body; an essential factor in losing weight.

Our friends might not appreciate our love for garlic, but our bodies sure do!

5. Cleanses the Body

It might seem counter-intuitive that something with such a pungent smell could actually help cleanse your body, but it can. Well…from the inside anyway!

The sulfhydryl compounds in garlic are incredibly powerful in helping to rid your body of toxins[4]. While, for the most part, our liver does a fantastic job of cleansing our body, we also live in a very toxic world. That being said, getting a little assistance definitely can’t hurt!

The properties in garlic can actually help boost detox enzymes in our bodies. Garlic can work synergistically with milk thistle, if you want an even more powerful detox. Some people even drink garlic with warm lemon water each morning for a bonus detox boost.

So, yes! Garlic can definitely clean your insides. However, you might want to put a little extra TLC into cleaning the rest if you choose to chew it raw.

6. Reduces Cholesterol

High cholesterol seems to be a battle many people are fighting these days. Thankfully, with the amazing health benefits of garlic, this powerful little vegetable could come to the rescue!

While evidence is limited, there have been some cases to show that garlic reduces cholesterol[5]. Since it has been proven to lower insulin resistance when taken consistently, this would make sense.

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Studies show that it should be taken daily for at least eight weeks to see results. However, the results might be limited, so it’s important to help solve the problem with regular exercise and diet as well.

For more on how to naturally reduce cholesterol, check out this article: Complete Guide: How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

7. Increases Athletic Performance

It might make you smell your sweat more, but can garlic actually increase athletic performance? Some people say yes!

For one, garlic is high in antioxidants, which can help protect the body from stress (including the stress of working out). However, there might be another scientific reason for this as well. Garlic can increase nitric oxide[6], which in turns dilates blood vessels to increase blood flow. This is the same reason why beets are known to increase workout performance.

Garlic was one of the first athletic enhancements on the market! In fact, garlic was used by athletes even in ancient Greece[7].

With all these benefits, it definitely can’t hurt to try and see if it helps you!

8. Anti-Fungal Properties

Garlic doesn’t stop at just killing off viruses and bad bacteria in your body. It kills fungi, too! This is one of the major health benefits of garlic.

With the modern S.A.D diet (Standard American Diet) many of us have become accustomed to, our bodies have become practical breeding grounds of microbes we don’t want around. Fungus could be very likely included in that list.

Candida is a fungus that all of us have. However, some studies have shown that candida could “overgrow” in our bodies[8] as a result of too much sugar, processed foods, and an overall poor diet. Some studies suggest that this could result in weight gain, cravings, and many other poor side effects.

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Many people who experience athlete’s foot have already experienced the side effects of candida and fungus overgrowth.

Thankfully, garlic can be a powerful component in fighting off this negative overgrowth! With the same properties that make it an anti-microbial, garlic is powerful at fighting off many other unwanted visitors in your body.

9. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Anti-inflammatory has become somewhat of a buzzword these days! But for good reason. Many people claim that inflammation could actually be a leading cause for disease.

This chronic inflammation has left many with conditions like diabetes, allergies, and arthritis, just to name a few! To help cure these issues, it’s essential to tackle the underlying problem as well: inflammation.

Thankfully, garlic can pack a powerful punch against inflammation in the body. According to recent research, garlic could be used to fight arthritis because of its anti-inflammatory superpowers[9].

While diet still plays a huge role in reducing inflammation, garlic could also be an incredible addition to jump-start your healthy lifestyle.

10. Decreases Heavy Metals

As mentioned before, garlic is powerful in reducing toxins in the body. Reducing heavy metals is another benefit of this and, perhaps, one of the most surprising health benefits of garlic.

Studies with garlic were used on patients with lead poisoning. The results were rather shocking!

Previously, it was scientifically proven that garlic used on animals could reduce heavy metal toxicity. Later, the effects were proven in humans tested with lead poisoning.

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117 factory workers were tested for high lead concentrations in their blood. These workers were divided into two groups: one for garlic and one for d-penicillamine for 4 weeks. The results for garlic were impressive! It reduced irritability and headaches and decreased deep tendon reflex and systolic blood pressure, while the d-penicillamine didn’t see any results. The group who took garlic also tested for lower concentrations of lead[10].

While heavy metal toxicity is rare, it can also be an underlying cause for some chronic health concerns. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to stay on top of it and ensure your body is properly ridding itself of metal toxicity through garlic.

11. Aids Weight Loss

With all of it’s powerful components, it should not be a surprise that garlic can help overall weight loss efforts. Garlic’s combined efforts in reducing fungus and microbes, balancing blood sugar, and increasing workout performance can lead to overall weight loss.

This is a huge green light for many people hoping to find an extra way to boost their efforts.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, if we take care of our bodies, our bodies will take care of us. For many of us, the key isn’t about figuring out the best fat-burner or anti-inflammatory pill on the market. It’s about learning to nurture our bodies so that it will work properly for us in return.

Since garlic can help achieve overall balance in our bodies, we can rest assured that it will help us reach our fitness and health goals as well. Next time you’re making lunch, chop up a bit of garlic and throw it in. Your body will thank you!

More Nutritional Foods

Featured photo credit: Yogesh Pedamkar via photopin.comhttps

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Katelyn Delaney

Owner of Revifi -- Fitness Training & Life Coaching

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Published on July 14, 2021

13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach)

13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach)

We’ve all had late-night cravings. Those times when you would lie in bed but your mind is on the fridge. You try to fight it, but you find out that you can’t. Food—you want food—to chew and to drink and to swallow. It usually goes this way: after much hesitation, you would get off your bed and walk over to the kitchen where you would stand for seconds and maybe even minutes contemplating a lot of things.

You have heard about it—read about it, too—the famous “eating late at night isn’t good for you.” You know well about how eating late at night can cause you stress and make you gain weight. But you just want to eat—and eat you must.

But what must you eat? What are your best and most healthy options? Here are the 13 best foods to eat at night.

1. Turkey

If you aren’t a vegetarian, then you most probably love turkey. It is not only very tasty and delicious, but it is quite nutritious, too. Turkey contains a lot of protein. As little as 28 grams of turkey already contains eight grams of protein.[1]

It also contains some amount of vitamins and a nutritive compound called selenium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that plays an important role in ensuring the thyroid gland functions properly.

Turkey passes as one of the best foods to eat at night because the protein tryptophan, which it contains in a considerable amount, is believed to promote tiredness and thus, sleepiness.[2]

2. Fish

Another great choice for non-vegetarians is fish, especially fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. These are considered healthy choices because they contain a considerable amount of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body regulate its calcium levels and is good for your kidneys, parathyroid glands, skin, etc.

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Fatty fishes also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of healthy fatty acids that can serve as anti-inflammatory agents and are good for the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids are shown to be able to increase the amount of serotonin produced by the nervous system, and thus, make sleep feel better.[3] This means that fishes would not keep you awake! You don’t have to roll from side to side trying to fall asleep after eating them.

Fishes also contain nutritive oils that are good for your body and skin.

3. White Rice

White rice is just rice that has no bran germ—that is, both bran and germ have to be removed as a result of processing from brown rice to make it white rice. This removal of bran and germ causes white rice to contain lower fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants when compared with brown rice. However, white rice still contains a commendable amount of nutrients such as thiamine, folate, and manganese and so is great as a late-night meal.

White rice has a high Glycemic Index. (GI). A food’s glycemic index is simply the measure of the rate at which that food increases the body’s sugar level. Taking in foods with a GI index, such as rice, can improve the quality of one’s sleep. This is as long as one takes these foods one hour before sleep. If you plan to sleep by 7 p.m, then it is a good idea to eat white rice by 6.p.m.[4]

4. Bananas

Finally, Something for vegetarians. A fruit! Bananas not only taste good, but they are also rich in the compounds potassium and tryptophan, making them one of the best foods to eat at night.

Tryptophan, as earlier stated, is an essential protein that plays a role in relaxation. Some bananas before meals can improve the quality of your sleep. Plus, they contain vitamins and are rich in antioxidants. They also contain compounds that are capable of making bowel movements easier.

5. Cheese and Crackers

Cheese and crackers, crackers being a source of carbohydrates and cheese a source of tryptophan, can help balance the body’s sugar level. When you take cheese and crackers together, more tryptophan is made available to your brain.[5] The sugar in cheese feeds your brain, and tryptophan helps with the production of melatonin.

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This means that there would be more serotonin and melatonin production in your nervous system when you take cheese and crackers together. Serotonin improves the quality of a person’s sleep.

6. Warm Cereals

Cereals are great sources of fiber. Ones like oats also contain an impressive amount of melatonin, which improves sleep.

Before bed, a hot bowl of cereal and maybe even whole grains are a good choice. They do not contain a lot of calories and would most likely not keep you awake.

7. Yoghurt

Yogurt tastes good, and kids and adults love them. They are also a rich source of calcium. Calcium is an essential mineral to the body. It is necessary for the growth of bone and teeth, and skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscles need it for muscular contractions to happen.

Your body also needs calcium to produce melatonin from tryptophan. If calcium levels are low, there will be a reduced rate of production of melatonin—and thus, low quality sleep. Yogurt also contains casein. Casein is believed to reduce early morning hunger.

Unsweetened yogurt is a great snack and one of the best foods to eat at night.

8. Eggs

Eggs are great sources of protein and don’t contain many calories. As a late-night snack, eggs are a great pick. They are easy to cook and can go along with many different kinds of snacks.

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Eggs also contain tryptophan, which—as you must now already know—can improve the quality of one’s sleep.

9. Protein-Pineapple Smoothie

As you may have noticed, most of the snacks and foods on this list of best foods to eat at night are protein-rich foods. Protein-rich meals taken around bedtime can boost muscle repair. They can also combat age-related muscle mass loss especially in people who frequently exercise.

As a late-night snack, you can blend some pineapple pieces into milk. Milk is a great source of the protein tryptophan from which the body produces melatonin. Pineapples do not contain a lot of calories and might not prove a threat to your body’s normal digestive functions. Pineapples can also boost your body’s serotonin levels.[6]

10. Tart Cherries

Juices made from tart cherries are great alongside other snacks, such as crackers and cheese. Tart cherries have anti-inflammatory effects. Even though in small quantities, tart cherries contain the sleep hormone melatonin. They also contain procyanidin B-2, which is believed to keep stable the essential amino acid tryptophan.[7]

Tart Cherries have low calories, too. This means that they are not too heavy and do not pose the threat of fat deposition, and they would not keep you awake.

11. Honey

Honey harvested from bees is nutritious and does not contain a lot of calories. It is known to be capable of increasing the production of melatonin in one’s body.[8]

It also contains healthy sugars, such as fructose and glucose, and can have a healthy effect on your body’s sugar level. Honey is one of the best food to eat late at night.

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12. Popcorn

When it isn’t swathed in sugar and milk and other fatty stuff, popcorn presents as a great late-night snack. Popcorn is a low-calorie snack and contains a rich amount of fiber.[9] High-fiber grains are believed to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

Also, popcorn contains polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants believed to improve circulation and in general, health.

13. Baked Sweet Potato Fries

French fries are amazing. They taste so good. Do you like french fries? Then baked sweet potato fries are a great pick you might want to consider.

As a late-night snack, you can very well bake sweet potatoes instead of frying them. They are easier to prepare when baked and do not contain so much fat. Sweet potatoes contain a good quantity of fiber and vitamins.[10]They also contain some great amounts of protein.

Final Thoughts

When next you have the craving for a late-night meal, you should know that not all meals are great when eaten at night. Some are about right, and others could contribute to excessive weight gain, heart diseases, digestive disorders, and other health issues.

Have you ever woken up with swollen eye bags, felt nauseous, or had malaise after a late-night meal? Then it’s possible the meal was not a great pick.

When choosing the best meals and snacks to eat at night, you should choose meals that contain low calories—not more than 200 calories—and have high protein content. Proteins like tryptophan enhance the quality of sleep. Some of these foods include eggs, turkey, cheese, bananas, yogurt, juices, etc.

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Remember, eating healthy is a great way to remain healthy.

More Healthy Snacks Options

Featured photo credit: K15 Photos via unsplash.com

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