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Garlic is a potent and smelly superfood that can add a little ‘oomph’ to almost any dish. But, did you know that garlic is also one of the most powerful natural remedies out there? For hundreds of years, garlic has been used medicinally, warding off infection, inflammation, and even cancer! Today, science is confirming this seemingly endless list of benefits that garlic has.
While cooking garlic with meals can greatly improve your health, nothing can compare to raw garlic. Adding heat to garlic has been known to reduce some of its healing properties; but letting it stand for about 10 minutes after crushing can preserve some components, even if heat is added. The biggest secret to garlic’s benefits lie in the compound allicin, and today we’ll discuss 4 reasons why you should be eating more garlic.
1. Boost to Your Immune System
Garlic is chock full of antioxidants. Because of this, it is a wonderful boost to your immune system, especially if you find yourself getting sick often.
Some of the first documented evidence on the medicinal properties of garlic was the powerful ability it had to help people avoid and treat the common cold. In 2001, a 12-week study was done during cold and flu season on the benefits of garlic. At the end of this study, researchers found that those who took a garlic supplement daily were less likely to get a cold. When they did get sick, the illness was usually shorter and less severe than it was for those who were not taking a supplement.
When you find yourself getting sick, try dicing 1-2 garlic cloves and putting them in a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil before swallowing them. The olive oil helps absorb some of the strong flavor, as well as makes it easier to swallow.
2. Heart Health
With the heart health of America at one of the highest points of concern, millions of people are desperately trying to find ways to lower their blood pressure. Garlic is an extremely powerful blood thinner that can lower blood pressure just as effectively as some medications.
Scientists have barely been able to understand the complexity of this incredible herb, but dozens of medical studies have found that eating garlic daily can reduce cholesterol by about 10%. This reduction is so substantial that it can lower one’s risk of heart attack and stroke.
3. Reduces the Risk of Dementia
Because so little is understood about dementia, it is a fear that rampages through the health community. Now one of the leading causes of death, Alzheimer’s Disease (the most common type of dementia) is at the top of the list of diseases for medical professionals to crack. Unfortunately, there are no currently known medications to slow or halt the progression of dementia; therefore, we are left simply treating the symptoms. Scientists have recently discovered that high cholesterol and heart health issues increase the risk of dementia. Since garlic already lowers cholesterol, the risks of dementia are, also, subsequently lowered.
But, that’s not all. A component of garlic, known as FruArg, has been found to actually protect the brain from age-related dementia and inflammation. An easy way to include raw garlic into your diet is to add it into different sauces, dips, and toppings (like pico de gallo) which will help cover up the strong flavor.
4. Kills Bacteria that Cause Food Poisoning
Anyone who has had food poisoning knows exactly how awful of an illness it is. Food poisoning can leave one incapacitated, and stuck in the bathroom for days. Many people with food poisoning often visit their doctor for a prescription, but new studies are showing that garlic could be the best cure.
Campylobacter, the most common bacteria found to cause food-borne illness, is virtually destroyed by a compound in garlic known as diallyl sulphide. Researchers have discovered that this compound is significantly better at killing this bacteria than antibiotics. This bacteria is so difficult to kill because of the biofilm that surrounds it, which gives it a slimy surface, helping it spread easily.
For thousands of years, garlic has been used for its medicinal properties. Ancient text from Egypt, Greece, and China have praised the benefits of garlic. But, because they were unable to understand the properties of it, garlic was often referred to as a magical and mystical herb – this is most likely where its use against vampires stemmed from. And, while it may not protect you from Dracula, garlic continues to amaze medical professionals at what it can protect you from.
Photo Credits: How He’s Raised