We have become skeptical of products that claim to cure a host of conditions, and with good reason. Snake oil salespersons of days gone by sold cure-alls that could cure everything from acne to zinc deficiencies, and most, if not all, of those cures were bogus, so it may seem incredible to find a common household ingredient that has a long list of complaints it can benefit. The truth is that the list of benefits associated with garlic reads like the cure-alls of days gone by.
Garlic contains a variety of different minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that most likely account for the long list of benefits that garlic offers. Garlic contains an abundance of manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, selenium, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin B1. Garlic also contains a unique ingredient called allicin and, of all the ingredients, it is the allicin that has drawn the most attention from scientists.
Allicin is the sulfur-based compound that is responsible for the pungent smell of garlic and, as a sulfur compound, Allicin is responsible for many of the health benefits associated with garlic.
Entire books are written about the health benefits of garlic, but here are just a few of the main health benefits and why you should be adding garlic to your daily dietary intake in its natural form or in the form of a supplement:
1. Garlic Supports Immune Function
Supporting your immune system is the key to ensuring both short and long-term health. A healthy immune system is vital for protecting your body from pathogens, and the immune system is the system that is responsible for healing damaged tissues and organs.
Common colds are a part of life, but a study
done on garlic showed that garlic can prevent an attack by the virus responsible for the common cold. In a twelve week study on garlic, the individuals who were given the garlic supplement had fewer colds and far shorter cold duration than individuals who were given a placebo. The supplement reduced average sick days from 5 to 1.5 days.
Adding a garlic supplement
to your nutritional supplementation can help to keep your immune system strong and provide additional protection against certain types of viruses and bacteria.
2. Garlic Reduces Blood Pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the biggest underlying causes of heart disease. Heart attacks and strokes are the leading cause of death in the world. Finding ways to help reduce blood pressure or to help regulate healthy blood pressure levels can save lives.
There are numerous studies
that show that garlic supplementation can help to reduce and regulate blood pressure, and to provide vital protection to the heart.
It is however important to realize that adding a clove of two to your Italian dishes or stews is most likely not sufficient if you are trying to get the blood pressure regulation benefits of garlic, since most studies are done using larger doses of allicin. It is also important to note that, since garlic can affect blood pressure, it is important not to take garlic supplements without consulting your physician first.
3. Garlic Improves Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol and triglyceride levels are also very important factors in determining a patient’s risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular events. Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels significantly increase your chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke, and, like blood pressure, finding ways to regulate and in some cases reduce these levels can save lives.
The allicin in garlic has been found to offer benefits for both cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In a study
on garlic, patients were given a garlic supplement or placebo. The study found that the patients who received the garlic supplement had reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and the effect of garlic supplementation lasted for six months after the trial had come to an end.
For short and long-term protection, garlic can be a powerful addition to your daily diet.
Other Health Benefits of Garlic
The other health benefits attributed to this pungent herb include:
- Antioxidant protection to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Improvement of athletic performance
- The reduction and treatment of acne
- The promotion of bone health
- The regulation of fat cells
- An improvement in iron metabolism
- The possible promotion of longevity
Adding Garlic to Your Diet
Garlic supplements are abundantly available at health stores. Adding a top quality garlic supplement
can be hugely beneficial for your health, but, once again, don’t just assume that you can take a garlic supplement. Garlic interacts with a host of different medications, so check with your physician before you add a garlic supplement to your daily medical routine.