Since the beginning of recorded history, garlic has been used both medicinally and as a food or flavoring. Garlic’s medicinal benefits were explored in ancient medical literature from as far away as Egypt, China, India, Greece, and Rome. Although the plant is native to Central Asia, the Bible and Qur’an mention it, and King Tut’s tomb contained cloves that were more than three thousand years old.
The Allium genus, which also comprises onions, shallots, leeks, and chives, includes garlic. Garlic and several of the other species of this genus, Allium (Encyclopaedia Britannica: “Allium”), have some health benefits. Among its advantages are:
- Cardiovascular Health
Nutrition Information: per serving
Garlic is used sparingly in food and has little in the way of calories, fat, protein, or carbs. Its specific chemicals and enzymes are what give it its medicinal effects. One garlic clove contains:
- Calories: 4
- 0 grammes of protein
- 0 grammes of fat
- 1 gramme of carbohydrates
- 0 grammes of fibre
Can raw garlic be consumed?
Garlic is frequently cooked or used in powdered form in recipes. Garlic changes when it is cooked; it becomes softer, milder, and creamier, and its flavour and aroma become more subdued.
However, in addition to eating it cooked, you can also eat it raw.
Garlic may be safely consumed and is a wonderful complement to many foods, even though it tends to have a stronger, more pungent flavour when it is raw. Sauces, dressings, and dips like aioli and pesto frequently contain raw garlic.
Additionally, raw garlic may have more healthy chemicals than cooked garlic, which will benefit several areas of your health.
Is eating garlic cooked or raw better?
It can be difficult to fully benefit from the advantages of garlic. For instance, the research demonstrating the advantages of raw and cooked garlic—rather than supplements—increased immunity.
The pH balance of garlic can be altered by cooking it or using it in a recipe. After you mince, crush, or chop it, let it sit for a few minutes to allow the enzymes from the allicin to begin to act.
The benefits of raw garlic are the greatest. However, if you decide to cook it, keep the temperature below 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). Garlic should only be added to dishes when the cooking is almost complete because higher temperatures destroy the allicin. Garlic lowers cholesterol, which may reduce the chance of developing heart disease.
Garlic’s potential health advantages
Numerous health advantages of garlic have been linked by medical studies. The most effective form of garlic is a supplement, and some studies have found that raw garlic may be more potent than cooked garlic. When correctly prepared, garlic tea preserves the health benefits of raw garlic. The secret is to boil your crushed garlic for no more than three minutes.
Diallyl trisulfide, a component of garlic oil, has been discovered by medical researchers to protect the heart during heart surgery and after a heart attack. When given this substance during a heart attack, mice suffered 61% less damage to the afflicted cardiac tissue.
The component may be able to lessen cardiac enlargement in a mouse model of heart failure, according to the research. To fully understand the consequences on humans, more research is required.
Supplemental garlic, particularly aged garlic extract, has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals. It accomplishes this in part by inhibiting blood vessel narrowing or vasoconstriction. Garlic has effects that are equivalent to those of common blood pressure medications, although it has been discovered that those with low vitamin B levels may not benefit from this effect.
Additionally, it has been discovered that garlic oil protects against cardiomyopathy, a form of chronic heart disease that is the main cause of mortality in people with diabetes. In comparison to diabetic mice in the control group, diabetic mice administered garlic oil exhibited higher alterations linked to heart protection. To fully understand the consequences on humans, more research is required.
Reduced Infection Risk
The capacity of garlic to combat bacteria, viruses, fungus, and even parasites is well known. Allicin, an active ingredient in freshly crushed garlic, has been shown in one study to have antiviral effects as well as to be effective against a variety of bacteria, including multidrug-resistant strains of E. coli.
Additionally, it was discovered that allicin exhibited antifungal activities, notably against yeast infection-causing Candida albicans. Giardia and other severe intestinal parasites are combatted by its antiparasitic activity.
Allicin can aid in preventing the formation of the bacteria methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to several studies.
Fewer Blood Clots
Garlic has been shown in numerous trials to lessen the likelihood that blood clots will form. Some folks may also run a danger by doing this. In contrast to fresh garlic or other garlic supplements, aged garlic extract, according to one randomized double-blind research, did not raise the risk of bleeding in people taking warfarin.
Cancer Risk is Lower
Garlic and other plants in the Allium family have been linked in certain studies to a lower risk of developing certain cancers. Garlic use may reduce the risk of developing colon cancer, according to the Iowa Women’s Health Study, which involved more than 40,000 women between the ages of 55 and 69. Garlic consumption was linked to a lower incidence of stomach cancer, according to a 30-year study of 125,000 adults. Participants in that study who ingested garlic five or more times per week experienced the largest reduction in risk, while those who consumed it less frequently experienced the biggest increase in risk.
Similarly, a Chinese study involving several hundred lung cancer patients discovered a link between regularly consuming raw garlic and a reduced chance of developing lung cancer.
LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) (bad) and total cholesterol levels can be reduced with garlic
Garlic supplements lower total and LDL cholesterol by about 10-15% in people with high cholesterol.
Garlic lowers LDL (the bad cholesterol) but appears to have no consistent impact on HDL (the good cholesterol). Another established risk factor for heart disease is high triglyceride levels, although garlic does not appear to have any discernible effects on these levels.
Antioxidants in garlic may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Free radicals’ oxidative damage accelerates the aging process. Antioxidants found in garlic assist the body’s defenses against oxidative damage. Supplements containing large doses of garlic have been proven to lower oxidative stress in persons with high blood pressure and boost antioxidant enzymes in humans.
The risk of prevalent brain diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia may be reduced by the combined impact on lowering cholesterol and blood pressure as well as the antioxidant qualities.
Garlic may lengthen your life
It is impossible to demonstrate how garlic might affect longevity in people. However, it makes it plausible that garlic could lengthen your life given its positive impact on significant risk factors like blood pressure. Its ability to combat infectious infections is another crucial aspect because these are frequent causes of death, particularly in the elderly or those with compromised immune systems.
Garlic supplements may enhance athletic performance
One of the first performance-enhancing drugs was garlic. To lessen fatigue and increase workers’ productivity, it was historically employed in ancient cultures.
It was most notably granted to Olympians in ancient Greece. Garlic has been found to improve exercise performance in rodent trials, although few human studies have been conducted.
A 12% decrease in peak heart rate and improved exercise tolerance were observed in a short study of individuals with heart disease who took garlic oil for 6 weeks. Research including nine professional cyclists found no performance advantages.
Garlic may help to lessen exercise-induced weariness, according to other studies.
Consuming garlic may aid in the body’s detoxification of heavy metals
Garlic’s sulfur components have been demonstrated to offer protection against organ toxicity caused by heavy metals at large concentrations. Garlic decreased blood levels of lead by 19% in a 4-week trial of workers at a car battery plant who had received high lead exposure. Additionally, it lessened numerous clinical toxicity symptoms such as headaches and high blood pressure.
Garlic was even more effective at easing symptoms than the medication D-penicillamine when taken three times daily.
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