Garlic, known for its many health benefits, is a species of the onion genus Allium. The impressive list of health benefits goes ranges through the entire body.
Although you may have heard of some well-known health benefits of garlic, there may be several benefits that may come as a surprise.
Garlic is a common additive in many different foods and recipes. That is because garlic is a delicious addition to many meals, and it is easier than ever to add garlic to your meals. Garlic is a potent herb that is close to onions, leeks, shallots, and chives.
Some people stay away from too much garlic for health reasons because it can disrupt digestion for those with specific conditions like acid reflux or GERD.
Table of Contents
- Health Benefits of Garlic
- 1. It Can Help Prevent Heart Disease
- 2. It Can Boost Your Immune System
- 3. It is Antibacterial and Antifungal
- 4. It Can Reduce Free Radical Damage
- 5. It May Lower the Risk of Cancer
- 6. It May Reduce Blood Pressure
- 7. It Can Help to Lower Anxiety and Depression
- 8. It May Reduce Blood Glucose Levels
- 9. It Can Improve Lung Function
- 10. It May Improve Skin Health
- 11. It Can Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
- 12. It May Improve Physical Performance
- Does Garlic Come with Health Risks?
Health Benefits of Garlic
Are you ready to start adding more garlic to your daily routine? The health benefits are far and wide, and they can make all the difference for many.
Check out the information below to see the many health benefits of garlic, along with any potential risks.
1. It Can Help Prevent Heart Disease
The most common and well-known benefit of garlic is to help promote a healthy heart. Garlic can even help to prevent heart disease by inhibiting LDL oxidation, and that reduces atherosclerosis in the vessels. (1)
Preventing atherosclerosis in the vessels is the number one way to prevent heart disease. Many other factors go into preventing heart and cardiovascular disease as well. Eating a healthy diet, exercising often, and managing stress are essential to promote a healthy heart.
Adding more garlic can help to promote a healthy heart, along with many other healthy lifestyle habits. If you have a genetic risk of developing heart disease, it can be even more essential to add more garlic to your diet. Reap the benefits from garlic, and prevent the number one killer in the United States, heart disease.
2. It Can Boost Your Immune System
You do not have to get the occasional cold or sickness a few times a year. Garlic is not the only thing that can prevent this, but it can help tremendously.
Did you know that garlic contains many essential vitamins and minerals? Some of these include vitamin C, iron, copper, selenium, manganese, phosphorous, calcium, and potassium. The body requires all these nutrients daily to function, stay well, and enhance the immune system.
Garlic is an easy option for many meals that provide tons of flavor as well. It can help to give you a much-needed boost of necessary nutrients to keep your immune system thriving.
3. It is Antibacterial and Antifungal
Garlic is not only a great herb to boost the immune system; it is also a potent antibacterial and antifungal agent.
Adding garlic to your diet can help to prevent and even treat bacterial and fungal infections, along with doctor-prescribed medication when necessary. Garlic also has antimicrobial properties that can help fight bacteria and fungus.
Because garlic acts as an antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal mediator, it can further enhance the immune system by warding off viruses and foreign invaders that cause damage in the body. It can even fight infections brought on by a fungus, bacteria, and more. (2)
4. It Can Reduce Free Radical Damage
Garlic is exceedingly high in antioxidants, which are necessary to reduce free radical buildup in the body. When the body has too many free radicals, diseases can occur.
Factors that lead to free radical damage include a nutrient-poor diet, your environment, chronic stress, and unhealthy habits.
When the body has too many free radicals, oxidative stress and damage take place. In one study in the National Institutes of Health (NIH), garlic significantly reduces free radicals in the body. (3)
Adding more garlic can be helpful to get a significant dose of heart-healthy antioxidants.
5. It May Lower the Risk of Cancer
Garlic and onions have similar characteristics when it comes to preventing cancer growth. They both contain many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them influential anti-inflammatory compounds.
All disease in the body occurs because of inflammation. Garlic can be highly effective at preventing many diseases, so why not add more of this delicious herb to your next meal.
6. It May Reduce Blood Pressure
Billions of people worldwide suffer from high blood pressure. Nearly one billion have hypertension (chronically elevated blood pressure) globally, while 30 percent of that population is in the West. Hypertension is one of the most preventable diseases that diet plays a large role.
High blood pressure or hypertension is often the result of many factors such as dehydration, a nutrient-poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, gut dysbiosis, and much more. If you suffer from hypertension, adding garlic to your diet can be an easy solution to lowering your blood pressure along with many other necessities.
While there are many factors to help decrease the risk of hypertension, adding garlic to your diet can be a safe and potentially effective addition to a healthy lifestyle and lower blood pressure. Garlic supplements can even be effective at reducing blood pressure. (6)
7. It Can Help to Lower Anxiety and Depression
You may not think garlic can lower anxiety, but some promising studies prove it can do just that.
Anxiety is a more severe form of stress, and many suffer from mental health issues for numerous reasons. Depression can get worse when there is too much oxidative stress in the body, which is created by too many free radicals.
One often-overlooked fact when it comes to anxiety is how food affects brain chemistry. One study even shows that adding more garlic alleviated depressive behaviors when tested on rats. (7) Garlic also has many antioxidants that can improve anxiety and severe stress as well.
There are many factors to consider when thinking about anxiety and depression, but starting with your diet cannot hurt. The cells in the body crave nutrients daily to function and keep thriving in every aspect of health.
8. It May Reduce Blood Glucose Levels
Diabetes is a condition that millions suffer from around the globe. Type two diabetes is 100 percent preventable and reversible with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Although more research is necessary, there is some evidence that consuming more garlic may have a positive effect on reducing blood glucose levels in animals with diabetes. (8)
Because garlic is so high in antioxidants and antibacterial compounds, it may even reduce the risk of developing type two diabetes. Is it time to add more garlic to your routine?
9. It Can Improve Lung Function
Garlic can even benefit lung function. In one study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), consuming raw garlic can be a chemopreventive agent against lung cancer. (9)
The herb can also help alleviate asthma attacks by clearing out excess mucous and toxins from the airways and lungs. (10)
While inhalers may still be necessary, asthma can often go away in time. Garlic can help give it an extra kick, and it can boost the immune system as well. For most, adding garlic can help to alleviate pressure on your lungs and much more.
10. It May Improve Skin Health
Garlic has the potential to ward off and decrease the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and more. The reason it can give the skin an extra glow is that it is full of skin-loving antioxidants.
Garlic can help protect against Ultraviolet B-Rays (UVB), making it an even more potent form of skin protection. (11) Too much-unprotected sun exposure is one of the top factors that affect skin aging and poor skin health. However, garlic should never replace sunscreen.
This herb can even help at healing wounds faster, psoriasis prevention and treatment, and more. Add some more garlic to your meals to reap the many benefits.
11. It Can Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
More than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. About the same amount has Dementia. What many do not know, lifestyle habits can help prevent the risk of these diseases.
Many foods and herbs can help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia, regardless of your genetic risk factor. Garlic is one of those herbs.
Garlic can be effective at reducing the risk of these diseases, and even treating them. (12) Although more research is necessary, adding garlic to prevent these common and severe diseases is a safe and healthy way to combat them.
12. It May Improve Physical Performance
For centuries, many have utilized garlic for its medicinal properties, like reducing inflammation in the body. Garlic is high in anti-inflammatory properties that can help to increase physical performance as well.
Some studies show there may be promising evidence that garlic can help physical performance and learning behavior in rats. (13) Garlic is full of antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals, so it comes to no surprise that it can potentially help with physical performance goals.
Adding more nutritious foods along garlic can help to improve your performance, partly because they help decrease sore muscles. Add some garlic to your next few meals, and see if you notice a difference in how you feel after a workout.
Does Garlic Come with Health Risks?
Garlic in small doses is safe to consume as an herb or spice for most. Although, for some conditions, it may be hard to tolerate too much or any garlic at all.
For those with these health conditions, it may be best to go easy on the garlic or skip it in general.
These conditions include:
- Acid reflux or GERD
- Skin rashes
If you have any of these conditions and eating garlic makes them worse, it may be a trigger food for you. Garlic also comes in supplement form, so be cautious when adding new supplements to your routine if you take meditation or have any of the conditions above.
The safest way to consume garlic is in its natural form in meals.
Garlic can be an effective way to help alleviate many common conditions, along with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
This herb can prevent many common chronic diseases, enhance skin health, boost the immune system, and much more.
If you experience any gastrointestinal issues like the ones listed above, make sure garlic is not making your symptoms worse. See if you can get to the root cause of your disorder and reverse it before adding too much garlic to your diet.
A functional medicine doctor can help you resolve gastrointestinal issues so you can enjoy the taste and health benefits of garlic again.