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”.
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. 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.
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!
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. 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. Since it has been proven to lower insulin resistance when taken consistently, this would make sense.
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, 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 10 Benefits of Bitter Melon That Makes It Even More Worth Eating
- 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)
- 10 Surprising Health Benefits Of Eating 3 Bananas a Day
Featured photo credit: Yogesh Pedamkar via photopin.comhttps
|||^||Healthline: 11 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic|
|||^||The Journal of Nutritional Biology: Garlic supplementation increases peripheral blood flow: a role for interleukin-6?|
|||^||Advances in Therapy: Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey|
|||^||National Integrated Health Associates: The Power of Garlic, a Detoxification Super Food|
|||^||Healthline: The 10 Best Foods to Boost Nitric Oxide Levels|
|||^||The Journal of Nutrition: Historical perspective on the use of garlic|
|||^||Healthline: 7 Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth (Plus How to Get Rid of It)|
|||^||Research Gate: Garlic and Its Role in Arthritis Management|
|||^||Basic and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology: Comparison of therapeutic effects of garlic and d-Penicillamine in patients with chronic occupational lead poisoning|