5 Top Health Benefits of Garlic

Garlic head

Grown and used for thousands of years, garlic is in the allium family, along with onions, chives and leeks. Known as the ‘stinking rose,’ garlic gets its aroma from its sulfur-containing compounds. These are also in part why garlic so good for you.

To get the full advantages of garlic, it should be eaten fresh and raw. Many people can’t tolerate the taste of raw garlic; using it lightly cooked is better than not using it at all. There are, of course, powder, flake, paste and pill form, all of which have less to offer than fresh and raw. Just a note, if eating raw garlic, don’t overdo it, as it can cause stomach upset.

Cooking tips:
Choose firm, mostly dry bulbs when purchasing. After cutting or crushing garlic, letting it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before use it will stimulate enzymes and increase compounds, making it even more beneficial. Avoid cooking garlic over high heat nor for too long. The longer it’s cooked the more its health benefits are lost. Best to add it to the pan when the food is almost done or, if you can get past “garlic breath,” add it raw when you’ve completely finished cooking. By the way, chewing on fresh parsley or mint leaves can counteract the aftertaste of garlic.

Vitamins, minerals & antioxidants
Garlic contains high levels of manganese, calcium, vitamin B1, B6 and C, phosphorous, copper, potassium, selenium and tryptophan. With all this going for it, garlic boosts the immune system.

garlicA natural antibiotic
Garlic has been called a natural antibiotic (though it’s not a substitute for them, when they are necessary to fight serious infections). It fights against bacteria and viruses associated with colds and flu. It may also be helpful in alleviating candida yeast conditions. There are many home remedies involving garlic, for various ailments including toothaches, coughs, earache, warts, congestion, and skin infections.

Detoxification
Garlic triggers the liver to release toxins from the body, while at the same time protecting the liver from harm. Garlic is great for clearing out and maintaining healthy lungs and stomach.

Cardiovascular health
Garlic improves heart health in many ways. It thins the blood to diminish and protect against clots, allows iron to flow better through the body and opens up vessels. It protects the vessel walls as well. Studies have shown that it may help lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. In addition, it protects against free radicals and acts as an anti-inflammatory for the heart, in addition to helping to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Reducing inflammation
Chemical compounds in garlic are thought to assist in reducing inflammation associated with various forms of arthritis.

  • For more tips on plant-based nutrition, make sure to browse VegKitchen’s Nutrition page.
  • See VegKitchen’s popular article on Preserving Garlic.
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9 comments on “5 Top Health Benefits of Garlic

  1. Kevin

    Good news, Garlic promotes the overall well-being of the heart and immune systems and helps maintain healthy blood circulation. The active component in garlic is the sulfur compound called allicin. Allicin is powerful as an antibiotic and a effective agent that helps the body to inhibit the ability of germs to grow and reproduce.

  2. Sandra

    Garlic is a wonder food. I can tesify that I thought I would be bed ridden with the pain I had that came on quite suddenly. Seemed every joint hurt and muscle hurt in my legs and feet. I could barely walk. I heard garlic was an anti inflamatory as well as antibiotic so I ate a whole roasted bulb. Not only was it delicious. I woke up the next day nearly pain free. There is also supplements in health food stores that contain tumeric,ginger, white willow bark etc. There are many natural remedies. We need to explore them more rather than rely on the pharmacuticals. Their side affects alone will kill you. How many of you know that Rockefeller owns the A.M.A.? No one we are pushed to take so many drugs. He has been known to say…about us “useless eaters” “they are all going to die anyway so the faster the better” google George Green. His story will blow your mind

  3. georgiamountainwoman

    I just made the most delicious soup using raw garlic. First I semi peeled 2 medium red potatoes, cut them up and put them in a pot of boiling water, to that, I added 2 slalks of celery, cut them up and boiled till almost tender, then I added 1 chopped onion to the pot just before the potato got just a little soft. Then, I scooped out the cooked potato, celery, and onion and put it in my blender with 10 cloves of raw garlic and about a tablespoon of parsley. After it was all blended, I poured it in a bowl, added a few grinds of Himalayan salt and cripy onions…….it was the most yummy Creamy Garlic Potato soup ever !

  4. Nava

    Not only does that sound delicious, but super-healthy! Sounds like a great soup for not only preventing colds, but treating them — thanks for sharing!

  5. Nava

    Donna, supposedly the entire plant is edible, flowers and all, though I’ve never eaten them myself and am not familiar with their flavor and texture.

  6. Mike

    Garlic does work wonders for warts. I’ve used it successfully on a few finger warts before. Do you have to use it raw to get it’s antibiotic properties? Or is it still as potent when cooked?

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