The Benefits of Garlic: TOP-10 Beneficial Properties and Main Contraindications

The health benefits of garlic are not a myth or an invention of insidious parents to feed their children something tasteless. This vegetable is highly valued in many areas – from cooking to cosmetology, but it demonstrates the most valuable properties in matters related to human health.

So you shouldn’t dismiss garlic because of its pungent smell – each small clove contains an incredible amount of nutrients that will keep your body in good shape.

Read on to find out what regular consumption of garlic leads to, who should avoid this flavorful product, and how to eat it to get the most out of it.

What are the benefits of garlic? Nutritional value

With the consumption of each clove of garlic, vitamins C, B6, B1, B2, B3, B5, and B9; trace elements calcium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, iron, and manganese enter the body. Another natural antioxidant is allicin, a substance found in garlic essential oil.

In addition, 100 g of garlic contains:

  • carbohydrates – 33 g
  • fat – 0 g
  • dietary fiber – 2 g
  • protein – 6 g;
  • nutritional value – 149 calories.

Useful properties of garlic

  • Strengthening the immune system + reducing the incidence of colds

Daily consumption of garlic reduces the likelihood of acute respiratory viral infections by 63% on average. This will not protect you from catching a cold one hundred percent – there is still a chance of catching a seasonal illness. However, allicin contained in garlic significantly alleviates symptoms and shortens the duration of the active stage of the disease (about 1.5 days instead of 6). This result is achieved by improving the functioning of immune cells in the body.

  • Lowering blood pressure

Regular intake of garlic is recommended for hypertensive patients as a vasodilator. To lower blood pressure, it is recommended to consume 4 cloves daily. Meanwhile, it is worth remembering that aromatic vegetable is by no means a substitute for medications prescribed by a doctor. Moreover, before consuming garlic or garlic-based preparations, you should first consult a specialist.

  • Lowering cholesterol levels

The same daily dose (2-4 cloves) reduces cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) levels by 10-15%. The greatest effect is achieved after 8 weeks of regular consumption of garlic.

  • Reducing the likelihood of developing memory problems and dementia

Garlic contains many beneficial antioxidants that help brain cells fight aging, mutations, and damage. Thus, adding garlic to your daily diet can serve as a good help to the body in resisting the development of senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Reducing blood sugar levels

As an additional therapy, doctors recommend eating garlic daily for people with type 2 diabetes. A noticeable effect occurs 14 days after regular intake of the vegetable. However, treatment with the aromatic supplement should be done with extreme caution, after prior consultation with a doctor.

  • Providing a tonic effect

Scientists are not sure whether garlic increases the body’s endurance in general, but the vegetable is highly effective in symptomatically reducing physical fatigue. It also increases efficiency. This method of improving well-being is especially effective in the cold season.

  • Reducing the risk of gallstone disease

High-fat content in the daily diet can lead to the formation of gallstones. A number of nutrients that enter the body with garlic helps to thin bile. Thus, everyone’s favorite bacon with garlic is not only tasty but also healthy.

  • Protecting the liver from toxins

Garlic is a natural hepatoprotection that promotes the production of liver enzymes. It helps the liver to process toxins from drugs (e.g. antibiotics) and heavy metals that can enter the body with food (sea fish and seafood, potatoes, and melon).

  • Improving oral hygiene

As paradoxical as it may sound, eating garlic helps to get rid of bad breath. The fragrant vegetable has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties: it helps keep teeth clean, resists the formation of deposits on enamel, relieves inflammation of the gums, and reduces the risk of caries.

  • Skin protection

The beauty and health of the skin are other reasons not to neglect garlic in cooking. Useful substances stimulate the natural production of collagen and elastin, which nourish the skin and help maintain its elasticity and healthy color, and, as a bonus, provide protection against photoaging. It is worth remembering that garlic juice, preparations, and cosmetics based on it can lead to skin burns. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor before using it.

What is the right way to eat garlic?

Despite the obvious benefits of garlic, eating it in unlimited quantities is not recommended. Experts emphasize that an adult should eat no more than 15 grams per day, which is an average of 4 cloves. Children under 7 years old should eat garlic in moderation.

The greatest benefit, like most vegetables, comes from raw garlic. Heat treatment destroys a number of essential oils and nutrients that can be extracted from it.

Who shouldn’t eat garlic? Contraindications.

With all the obvious benefits that daily consumption of this aromatic vegetable brings, it is worth remembering who should not eat garlic:

  • people with blood clotting disorders
  • people with gastrointestinal problems and digestive disorders
  • hypotensive patients (with low blood pressure)
  • people with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

In addition, it is recommended to eat garlic very moderately for pregnant and lactating women, as well as children under 7 years of age. You should also give up garlic if you are about to undergo surgery of any complexity. For safety reasons, you should stop eating garlic 2 weeks before the planned surgery to avoid high blood loss. You should also not eat garlic on an empty stomach.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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