Garlic (Allium sativum) is widely regarded as a cooking spice, but it's not just something people use to make their foods tasty; it's also consumed for its medicinal properties.
One thing that scares most people away from this incredible root vegetable is its smell. I know a lot of folks who can't stand the odour and so because of that, completely avoid eating garlic.
But what's in a smell if it can serve as an effective alternative to swallowing pills?
Here are four health benefits of eating garlic we thought you should know about.
1. Eating Garlic Can Help Prevent Colds and The Flu
A study by the St. Joseph Family Medicine Residency, Indiana, has shown that garlic can help decrease the frequency of colds in children and adults.
If you're one who often gets sick with a cold or flu, eating garlic can help protect you from catching a cold or reduce the severity of your symptoms.
To derive this health benefit that comes from eating garlic, it's best to consume garlic in raw form or aged garlic extract (AGE).
2. Eating Garlic Boosts Your Immune System
Garlic contains a compound known as allicin – which has been proven to help the immune system fight off a wide range of bacterial infections.
When garlic is chewed or crushed, the compound allicin is released - this compound along with antioxidants in the root vegetable are what help to fight off infections and boost the immune system.
A strong immune system helps to keep you healthy, and there are countless researches to prove that consuming raw garlic or garlic supplements is one way to boost the function of your immune system.
3. Eating Garlic Helps Reduce Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the primary drivers of cardiovascular diseases like stroke and heart attacks – two medical conditions behind the deaths of millions of people every year.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), eating garlic as food or extracts in dietary supplements can help treat those suffering from high blood pressure or even stop high blood pressure from occurring.
So if you suffer from high blood pressure, we recommend you give garlic a try. It might just be what you've always needed.
4. Garlic May Help Detoxify Heavy Metals From Your Body
This might come as a surprise to you, but it's a well-known fact that heavy metals can be found in the human body. Some of these metals are good, while others are harmful to us.
Some clinical signs of metal toxicity include constant headaches, abdominal pains, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, chills, tingling in the hands and feet and high blood pressure.
When eaten raw or in supplements, the sulfur compound in garlic helps reduce the lead levels in the blood by 19% and protects against organ damage from heavy metal toxicity.
Studies have shown that consuming three doses of garlic per day even outperforms the drug D-penicillamine in reducing symptoms of metal toxicity.
In summary, garlic has been used to treat a variety of medical conditions for hundreds of years. It's the year 2020, and the root vegetable still hasn't lost its power. So forget its awful smell and eat up!
Garlic can either be eaten raw, added to a meal, or taken as a dietary supplement.