So much praise an attention has been given to ginger in the world today an yet, no one no one wonders why whenever ginger is mentioned, garlic is the next word. They are like two sides of the same coin.
Here, I have in great detail pointed out the beautiful things about ginger but, while ginger may be all those things and more, garlic is nothing less than a worthy match. In fact, let’s get down to business.
Garlic belongs to the Allium family meaning it is a close relative of onion, chives and leeks. It forms a major part of cuisines in Asia, North and Central Europe and Northern Africa. Garlic is an herb that is grown around the world. It is thought that garlic is native to Siberia, but spread to other parts of the world over 5000 years ago.
Garlic is used for many conditions related to the heart and blood system. These conditions include high blood pressure, low blood pressure, high cholesterol, inherited high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, heart attack, reduced blood flow due to narrowed arteries, and “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis).
Some people use garlic to prevent colon cancer, rectal cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, multiple myeloma, and lung cancer. It is also used to treat prostate cancer(a predominant fatality concern for African men above 50years) and bladder cancer.
Some benefits that have been closely associated with eating garlic include:
1. Garlic Is Highly Nutritious But Has Very Few Calories
Calorie for calorie, garlic is incredibly nutritious.
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of garlic contains (5):
- Manganese: 23% of the RDA
- Vitamin B6: 17% of the RDA
- Vitamin C: 15% of the RDA
- Selenium: 6% of the RDA
- Fiber: 0.6 grams
- Decent amounts of calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B1.
Garlic also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients. In fact, it contains a little bit of almost everything you need.
This comes with 42 calories, 1.8 grams of protein and 9 grams of carbs.
2. The Active Compounds in Garlic Can Reduce Blood Pressure
Cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes are the world’s biggest killers. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most important drivers of these diseases.
Human studies have found garlic supplements to have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. In one study, 600–1,500 mg of aged garlic extract was just as effective as the drug Atenolol at reducing blood pressure over a 24-week period (12).
Supplement doses must be fairly high to have the desired effects. The amount needed is equivalent to about four cloves of garlic per day.
3. Garlic Improves Cholesterol Levels, Which May Lower the Risk of Heart Disease
Garlic can lower total and LDL cholesterol.
For those with high cholesterol, garlic supplements appear to reduce total and/or LDL cholesterol by about 10–15%.
Looking at LDL (the “bad”) and HDL (the “good”) cholesterol specifically, garlic appears to lower LDL but has no reliable effect on HDL.
High triglyceride levels are another known risk factor for heart disease, but garlic seems to have no significant effects on triglyceride levels.
- LDL – Low Density Lipo-protein
- HDL – High Density Lipo-protein
4. Athletic Performance Might Be Improved With Garlic Supplements
Garlic was one of the earliest “performance enhancing” substances. It was traditionally used in ancient cultures to reduce fatigue and enhance the work capacity of laborers. Most notably, it was given to Olympic athletes in ancient Greece.
People with heart disease who took garlic oil for 6 weeks had a 12% reduction in peak heart rate and better exercise capacity.
However, a study on nine competitive cyclists found no performance benefits. Other studies suggest that exercise-induced fatigue may be reduced with garlic.
5. Eating Garlic May Help Detoxify Heavy Metals in thedy
At high doses, the sulfur compounds in garlic have been shown to protect against organ damage from heavy metal toxicity.
A four-week study in employees of a car battery plant (excessive exposure to lead) found that garlic reduced lead levels in the blood by 19%. It also reduced many clinical signs of toxicity, including headaches and blood pressure.
Three doses of garlic each day even outperformed the drug D-penicillamine in reducing symptoms.
Garlic brings a sublime taste to food as well and can easily combine with just about anything.
In the next article, I’ll share some uses and side effects of garlic and ways it can be taken.