Garlic has many health benefits. Before we go any further, you might like to check out my related poem ~ Garlic – Classified Substance 001.
Garlic has been used throughout human history as both a medicinal and food component, it is known as the ‘stinking rose’ and is rumoured to ward off vampires. It has a pungent, potent smell and flavour and is the most widely recognised flavouring in the world. The garlic can be bought fresh and raw, powdered as garlic granules, or in bulb form. You can buy standard or go organic. Personally I love organic garlic bulbs, they are potent miracles. This is a strong superfood!
This is popular for its health benefits, and rightly so. But just to mix things up, during the first olympic games, garlic was taken by athletes before they competed… and it was also fed to soldiers to give them courage as garlic was associated with war! You can cook it by frying, which means to chop before. I’m not suggesting sticking a full bulb into the frying pan. I recommended if frying to mix with something yummy, more on that after. The benefits really are far reaching:
1) Garlic is a nutrition powerhouse – it is in the allium family, closely related to onions and leeks. Garlic possesses a sacred magic, sulfur compounds, a potent component which is formed when the clove of a garlic bulb is crushed or chopped. One of these compounds is allicin, and to reap the benefits you should crush, before cooking. Garlic also has selenium, vitamin c and manganese at fairly good levels, and even a small amount will contribute to your daily intake.
2) Prevent the common cold & other illness – This is a superfood which exerts strong, potent health effects within the body. The substances including the allicin provoke reactions within the body which causes the immune system to function more smoothly. A 12-week study found daily garlic supplements reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with a placebo1. Average length of cold symptoms reduced by 70% from 5 days in the placebo group to 1.5 days in the garlic group!
3) Garlic reduces blood pressure – High blood pressure is also called hypertension. It causes your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body. This can lead to cardiovascular disease if not corrected or treated. Human studies involving garlic showed that it does in fact reduce blood pressure2. 600-1,500mg of aged garlic extract was as effective as the drug Atenolol at reducing blood pressure over a 24-week period3.
4) Helps to improve cholesterol levels – There are two types of cholesterol that people have usually heard of, HDL or the good ‘type’ and LDL or the ‘bad’ type. Most people don’t think about this stuff, but if you are interested then you will be glad to know garlic can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol4.
5) Reduce oxidative stress – Garlic has been shown to increase antioxidant enzymes in human beings5 as well as reducing oxidative stress.
6) Sulfur compounds can protect organs from heavy metals – One study which lasted 4 weeks of employees at a car battery plant found that garlic reduced lead levels in the blood by 19%6.
I want to just finish those 6 benefits by adding that it is clear that garlic has for thousands of years been used for the health benefits, and so there is likely a substantial amount more without studies behind them. It would appear garlic also improves blood flow, since it reduces blood pressure. But just a friendly caution, don’t eat so much you make yourself sick. As you can become unwell if you are intolerant to garlic, with symptoms like headache, stomach aches and dizziness. I suspect garlic is under used because of the pungent smell and taste, but it is easy to cook.
Why not fry it as suggested? Mix in with beef mince, onions and tomatoes and fry for perfection, seasoning to taste. For vegans like myself, simply add garlic with tofu, or something else that needs spicing up like pasta or even your own vegan quiches. It is extremely flexible, use it on everything.
1 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11697022/
2 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6966103/
3 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24035939/
4 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19060427/
5 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16335787/