Garlic is part of a plant, the bulb, being widely used in the kitchen to season and season foods, and as a natural medicine to complement the treatment of various conditions.
This herb is rich in sulfur compounds, the main one being allicin, which gives garlic its characteristic odor, being responsible for the functional properties that garlic has for health. Besides this, it is rich in some minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.
So the benefits of consuming garlic are:
1. Fighting viruses, bacteria and fungi
Garlic has a sulfur compound called allicin that gives it antimicrobial action, inhibiting the growth and proliferation of bacteria, viruses and fungi. It even helps to eliminate toxins and pathogenic bacteria that affect the normal flora of the intestine, being useful to treat parasitosis.
2. Fight colon cancer
Thanks to the action of allicin, alliin and ajoene, which are sulfur compounds, are antioxidants which prevent the formation of free radicals and protect the body’s cells. Also, allyl sulfides help to stimulate some enzymes that detoxify the body of causative agents of this disease.
3. Protect heart health
Garlic helps to reduce the levels of LDL bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood because it inhibits their oxidation, thus reducing the risk of suffering atherosclerosis.
It also lowers high blood pressure because it exerts a hypotensive effect and promotes blood circulation by causing a vasodilator effect. It also prevents thrombus formation because it inhibits platelet aggregation.
4. Act as a natural anti-inflammatory
Thanks to allicin and its antioxidants, garlic decreases the inflammatory response in the body that is caused by various diseases. Also, its sulfur compounds provide it with analgesic properties and modulate the immune system response.
5. Avoid respiratory problems
Garlic stimulates respiratory functions thanks to its expectorant and antiseptic properties, facilitating breathing, so its use is excellent for treating flu, coughs, colds, hoarseness, asthma, bronchitis and lung conditions.
6. Maintain brain health
Thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power, provided by allicin and sulfur compounds, and its selenium and choline content, frequent consumption of garlic could protect brain cells and decrease the damage caused by free radicals, which are involved in the emergence of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
For this reason, garlic is a food with a lot of potential to improve memory and favor the learning process, improving brain health.
Garlic nutritional information
The table below indicates the nutritional composition per 100 grams of garlic:
In addition to fresh garlic, there is also black garlic, which goes through a fermentation process that enhances all its benefits. Learn more about black garlic.
How to use Garlic
In order to benefit from these properties, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends consuming 1 clove of fresh raw garlic per day.
Garlic should be consumed crushed, broken, chopped or kneaded and allowed to stand for 10 minutes before use. This is important because during these processes the sulfur components of garlic, such as allicin, alliin and ajoene from inside the cell are released and activated, increasing its concentration and enhancing its benefits.
Garlic can be used to season meats, pastas, salads and to prepare sauces and pâtés. In addition to this, it can also be prepared in the form of tea or as garlic water to obtain its cholesterol-lowering and heart-protecting benefits.
In addition to fresh garlic, there are also capsules with the dried extract, which can be used as a nutritional supplement. Learn more about garlic capsules.
How to buy and store it
When buying it, you should prefer round, unblemished, uncrushed garlic heads that have all their cloves attached and firm, avoiding loose, soft and wilted ones.
In addition to this, to preserve garlic longer and prevent it from mold, it should be stored in a cool, dry and slightly aerated place.
Recipes with garlic
Some ways in which garlic can be used to obtain its benefits are:
1. Garlic tea
The tea should be prepared with 1 clove of garlic per 100 to 200 ml of water. Chopped or crushed garlic should be added to boiling water and kept for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drink warm.
To improve the taste of the tea, you can add grated ginger, a few drops of lemon and 1 tablespoon of honey.
2. Garlic water
To prepare garlic water, put 1 clove of crushed garlic in 100 ml of water. Let the mixture stand overnight.
This water should be consumed on an empty stomach to help cleanse the intestine and reduce cholesterol, and can be taken daily for as long as desired.
3. Garlic cream for meats
- 1 glass of milk;
- 3 cloves of garlic;
- 1 pinch of salt, parsley and oregano;
- Olive oil.
How to prepare
Blend the milk, garlic, salt, parsley and oregano. Then add the oil little by little until it reaches the point of cream. This recipe can be used to accompany grilled or barbecued meats, or to make garlic bread.
Side effects and contraindications
Excessive consumption of garlic can cause digestive problems, colic, gas, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and dizziness.
In addition, the consumption of raw garlic as a natural remedy is contraindicated for newborns, during healing in the postoperative period of surgeries, in people suffering from low blood pressure, stomach pain, bleeding and in individuals using medications to thin the blood.
Eggplant, flaxseed and artichoke can also be used to protect the heart, see other home home remedies to lower cholesterol.