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6 Amazing Health Benefits Of Garlic

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Garlic Can Transform Your Health

Did you know that garlic has been used in traditional medicine and remedies in Ayurveda for centuries? While it may be stinky, garlic is a wonderful natural cure for countless ailments. If you haven’t tapped into its healing powers, these amazing facts might make you bite the bullet and step over to the dark side.

Garlic, a close relative of the onion, has gone down in history as one of the most versatile remedies. Nutritionally, it delivers nearly a quarter of your recommended daily allowance for manganese. It also boasts significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium, and fiber. Garlic also contains small amounts of calcium, iron, vitamin B1, potassium, phosphorus, and even copper. And when a single clove holds just four calories, it’s easy to see why this bulb is a superfood.1

But if you aren’t convinced that you should be tossing raw garlic into every meal, take a look at these renowned health benefits. You might be surprised at what you’ll learn.

1. Boosts Immunity

Garlic is your immune system’s best friend. Studies have found that taking a daily garlic supplement with allicin for several months can significantly lower your chances of catching a cold or the flu. In one study, participants who took the daily supplement of garlic for 12 weeks had 63 percent less colds than those who didn’t. Even if you do catch a cold, garlic may help diminish how badly the infection hits your system. Researchers noted that the length of cold symptoms dropped by 70 percent, lasting just a day and a half. Symptoms for those that didn’t take garlic lasted a whopping five days.2

2. Lowers Blood Pressure

If hypertension is a concern, including garlic in your diet may be worth a shot. Most studies have explored its impact in those with uncontrolled hypertension who were already being treated.3 And while multiple studies have proven its effectiveness, one found it could actually achieve results equivalent to blood pressure-lowering drugs like Atenolol. In this case, researchers used a dosage of 600–1500 mg of garlic extract.4 Ultimately, garlic seems to protect the cardiovascular system by reducing your blood pressure and countering oxidative stress.5 Isn’t that impressive?

3. Prevents Hepatitis And Protects Your Liver

Fresh garlic extract has been shown to protect against acute liver failure from acetaminophen toxicity. As a result, researchers believe that garlic could potentially protect against hepatitis, too.6 The diallyl sulfide from garlic can also shield the liver from chemically induced hepatotoxicity. And if that isn’t enough, the selenium and allicin in garlic make it an effective liver cleansing agent, stimulating the production of liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins.7

4. Fights Hair Loss

One of the lesser known abilities of garlic is hair loss prevention. If you are battling alopecia areata, garlic gel can help fight hair loss, working especially well with corticosteroids used to treat the condition. Researchers found that using this gel twice a day for a period of three months helped improve the impact of other treatments such as corticosteroids.8

5. Overcomes Erectile Dysfunction

While Ayurveda has always viewed garlic as an aphrodisiac, mainstream science has begun to support its use in treating conditions like erectile dysfunction. Ayurvedic doctrines suggest that garlic helps enhance and maintain sexual ability.9 Now, studies show that it’s just as good as some synthetic drugs on the market. It all comes down to allicin, the biologically active organosulfur compound responsible for its strong and offensive smell.10 However, some research suspects that garlic may have an adverse impact on male fertility and should be avoided for couples trying to conceive.11

6. Wards Off Cancer

If you want to lower your chances of developing cancer, garlic may help. Research suggests that its high levels of organosulfur compounds can slow down tumor growth. It might even prevent the occurrence of some cancers. Specifically, studies indicate promise in the area of lung, skin, colon, prostate, bladder, and stomach cancers, thanks to the action of ajoene and diallyl disulfide. It may also even prevent leukemia.12

Ayurveda views garlic as a “rasayana” herb. This means that it rejuvenates the body due to its antioxidant powers. Combined with neem, garlic has even prevented the development of cancer in extrahepatic sites.13

The Safe Way To Get Your Garlic

Garlic is best consumed as an ingredient in your meals. The jury is still out on how effective garlic supplements are for treating ailments like cancer, but they are widely used by those with blood pressure problems or high cholesterol. While the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health confirms that most people can safely consume it, there are some instances when it is best avoided. If you have a surgery coming up or take an anticoagulant, garlic could cause you to bleed more and be potentially dangerous. Also check with your doctor for possible drug interactions with your other medication. For instance, garlic can interfere with HIV drug saquinavir. Otherwise, just watch out for side effects like bad breath or heartburn and decide if these are deal breakers for you.14

References   [ + ]

1. Garlic, raw National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28 , USDA.
2. Josling, Peter. “Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey.” Advances in therapy 18, no. 4 (2001): 189-193.
3. Ried, Karin, Oliver R. Frank, and Nigel P. Stocks. “Aged garlic extract lowers blood pressure in patients with treated but uncontrolled hypertension: a randomised controlled trial.” Maturitas 67, no. 2 (2010): 144-150.
4. Ashraf, Rizwan, Rafeeq Alam Khan, Imran Ashraf, and Absar A. Qureshi. “Effects of Allium sativum (garlic) on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with essential hypertension.” Pak J Pharm Sci 26, no. 5 (2013): 859-63.
5. Dhawan, Veena, and Sanjay Jain. “Garlic supplementation prevents oxidative DNA damage in essential hypertension.” Molecular and cellular biochemistry 275, no. 1-2 (2005): 85-94.
6. Ezeala, C. C., I. N. Nweke, P. C. Unekwe, I. A. El-Safty, and E. Nwaegerue. “Fresh garlic extract protects the liver against acetaminophen-induced toxicity.” The Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness 7, no. 1 (2009).
7. Wang, Er-Jia, Yan Li, Marie Lin, Laishun Chen, Adam P. Stein, Kenneth R. Reuhl, and Chung S. Yang. “Protective effects of garlic and related organosulfur compounds on acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity in mice.” Toxicology and applied pharmacology 136, no. 1 (1996): 146-154.
8. Hajheydari, Zohreh, Mojgan Jamshidi, Jafar Akbari, and Rezaali Mohammadpour. “Combination of topical garlic gel and betamethasone valerate cream in the treatment of localized alopecia areata: a double-blind randomized controlled study.” Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology 73, no. 1 (2007): 29.
9, 10. Baldi, Ashish. “Erectile dysfunction and Ayurveda.” J. Res. Educ. Indian Med 4 (2008): 15-24.
11. Hammami, I., and M. V. El May. “Impact of garlic feeding (Allium sativum) on male fertility.” Andrologia 45, no. 4 (2013): 217-224.
12. Garlic, American Institute for Cancer Research.
13. Govindarajan, R., M. Vijayakumar, and P. Pushpangadan. “Antioxidant approach to disease management and the role of ‘Rasayana’herbs of Ayurveda.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 99, no. 2 (2005): 165-178.
14. Garlic, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.