Categories: Nutrition

5 Top Health Benefits of Garlic

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.

A 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.

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.
Rachael Braun :

View Comments

  • 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?

  • garlic is very beneficial for health if taken early in the morning with water.thanks for great post.

  • Gaaah! Who would have thought garlic can be so beneficial. Will make it a point to add 9 cloves each time I marinate chicken or cottage cheese now.
    Maybe you could write a post on more steps to address halitosis along with oil pulling. If you have already written one, sorry I may not have read it Mike :)

  • I had no idea that garlic had so many health benefits. I think it's cool it can help has an antibiotic. That would be nice if you had a minor problem. I also thought it was cool that it can help with inflammation. I feel like anything that helps with inflammation can be handy in lots of situations.

  • I have tried honey and garlic mixture for a month and it clearly shows the difference. It is making me more energetic. Thank you for sharing the benefits of garlic.

  • Great article! I looooove garlic. I definitely feel the difference when I commit to adding more to my diet.

    Anyone interested in herbal medicine should definitely check out the book Everyday Roots. It teaches you how to replace all of the harmful chemical products in your life with organic ones.

  • I had no idea that garlic had so many different health benefits! One thing that I really liked about it is that it's actually a natural antibiotic! It would be nice to know that adding something so small could benefit you so much.

  • Just wanted to say I have a bad cough and unable to shift it so took a course of Amoxoline 500 but didn't work, so now going to use natural Garlic each day [I have nothing to lose as I have tried everything else to no avail [don't care what say about the smell of Garlic]
    Will keep you informeed

  • Thought I would give it a go and try Raw Garlic as I have tried everything else and nothing to lose
    Had the rasping cough and productive phlegm.
    Will keep you informed
    Appreciate any help from someone else in similar position.