Health & Wellness

Garlic Benefits: 5 Science-Backed Health Benefits for Your Heart, Blood Sugar, and More

Garlic is a common ingredient that tastes and smells amazing. But did you know that garlic benefits your health in several ways?

That’s right! This simple ingredient is full of antioxidants, selenium, manganese, and other nutrients to support your health. Garlic is safe to eat raw or cooked, and its benefits influence both your day-to-day and long-term health.

Keep reading to learn all about how garlic can prevent and treat a wide variety of illnesses!

 

What Makes Garlic So Healthy?

Using garlic to prevent or treat illness isn’t new. In fact, people from many different cultures have used garlic this way for centuries!

Garlic is a bulbous flowering plant that is in the same family as onions, leeks, and shallots. It’s readily available for many people all over the world in various forms.

You can buy entire bulbs, oils, powders, and many other preparations. Some people even buy garlic supplements to take each day. However you choose to use it, the health benefits of garlic are right at your fingertips.

Garlic contains organosulfur compounds like allicin and diallyl disulfide, which are primarily responsible for its health benefits.

Crushing, mincing, chewing, or otherwise breaking garlic down releases most of these compounds. Studies show that they provide a lot of health benefits for many different systems in your body!

5 Ways Garlic Benefits Your Health

Whether you follow a plant-based diet or one with a variety of proteins, you can reap many garlic benefits by adding it to your diet on a regular basis. Here are five incredible ways that garlic can positively influence your health.

1. Supports heart health

One of the greatest garlic benefits is its impact on your heart health. In fact, keeping your heart healthy is a priority for most people because it’sone of the best ways to support your total health.

Garlic can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. Studies show that 600 to 900 mg of garlic powder supplements significantly lowered cholesterol. [1, 2] This is amazing, because high cholesterol is a significant contributing factor for atherosclerosis and other serious cardiovascular diseases.

But that’s not the only way garlic supports your heart health. The allicin in garlic causes a chemical reaction in your body that produces hydrogen sulfide. [3] This compound relaxes the smooth muscles of blood vessels, effectively lowering your blood pressure! [4]

2. May contain anti-cancer properties

Another one of the fascinating garlic benefits is its cancer-fighting abilities. With cancer affecting so many families each year, studying the treatment and prevention is a priority for people across many demographics. Several studies explore the cancer prevention properties of garlic.

Researchers found that garlic kills cancer cells in both humans and animals. [5, 6] The nutrients in garlic are able to prevent breast cancer cells from proliferating and metastasizing [7]. Garlic can even make breast cancer cells more susceptible to cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

But the benefits aren’t just limited to breast cancer. Other studies show that garlic can also prevent colorectal and liver cancers altogether.  [8, 9]

3. Aids in liver detoxification

Garlic benefits also extend to promoting liver health! Diallyl disulfide and other organosulfur compounds in garlic are primarily responsible for the positive effects on your liver.

Garlic can encourage the activation of various enzymes that are responsible for liver detoxification. [10] These enzymes break down toxins so that they aren’t harmful to your body. Selenium is a trace mineral contained in garlic that is an essential part of this process.

Additionally, diallyl disulfide in garlic can protect your liver against injuries from alcohol consumption while also reducing the levels of lactate dehydrogenase and glutathione in your liver. [11] In short, garlic is full of things to support the health of your liver!

4. May support healthy blood sugar levels

Controlling your blood sugar levels is important for your long-term health because it can help you prevent or control diabetes. Fortunately, garlic benefits include helping to support healthy blood sugar levels.

One study found that regularly consuming garlic can help people with diabetes manage high blood sugar levels. People with diabetes who supplemented their Metformin treatment with garlic had lower fasting blood sugar than people who only took Metformin. [12]

Additionally, a meta-analysis of nine randomized controlled trials  totaling 768 participants found that using garlic supplements significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels in as little as one week! [13]

So, how significant were the changes? Those who consumed the garlic supplements experienced, on average, a 61 percent reduction in their fasting glucose levels within just one to two weeks compared to the control group.

Amazingly, after 24 weeks of supplementation, the group consuming garlic experienced an incredible 2,000 percent reduction in fasting glucose levels compared to the control group! These findings were consistent despite the amount and kind of garlic supplement used.

Maintaining stable blood sugar levels helps to encourage better total health outcomes whether you have diabetes or not. Consider incorporating more garlic into your routine to make this a priority!

5. Contains antimicrobial properties

The antimicrobial properties of garlic are extensive. Not only can it treat many different kinds of bacteria, it’s also an effective antifungal treatment! [14] Plus, it’s a great natural alternative for antibiotics.

These antimicrobial properties are mostly attributed to the allicin in garlic. Allicin carries these antimicrobial benefits by itself. However, it also improves the efficacy of antimicrobial medications when they are used together! [15]

As if this wasn’t impressive enough, garlic also shows efficacy against drug resistant microbes. A recent study showed that fresh garlic extract inhibited both yeast and MRSA. These benefits weren’t only limited to these pathogens. When combined with antibiotics, garlic helps treat a wide range of antibiotic resistant pathogens! [16]

As you can see, garlic benefits your health in many ways. Now, let’s take a look at the different ways you can use garlic.

 

Garlic benefits - Dr. Pingel

 

How to Use Garlic

Now that you know five ways garlic encourages and improves your health, you may wonder how you can use it.

Cooking with garlic is an easy and delicious way to incorporate it into your routine. You can use it to add flavor to most savory dishes, and adding more than a recipe calls for is easy. Plus, it adds even more flavor!

Experiment with different types of garlic in your cooking. There are many varieties including white, red, Italian, Vietnamese, and many other kinds. You can even buy entire bulbs, single cloves, pastes and other preparations. Figure out what you like best and use it often!

Need more variety in your cooking? My Golden Garlic Smashed Potatoes are a healthy and delicious way to get more garlic into your diet. This recipe is easy, delicious, and sure to be a family favorite!

If cooking isn’t your strong suit, you can take garlic in the form of a supplement. A 200 mg supplement contains about the same amount of garlic as two to four cloves, which is the daily recommended dose. There are tablets, capsules, oils, and other versions that you can benefit from. Drop buy your local pharmacy or supermarket to see what they have available.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Garlic is a popular ingredient in many different culinary cuisines. The best part? Garlic benefits your health in incredible ways, and incorporating more of it into your diet is easy!
  • Some of the main nutrients that make garlic so healthy are allicin, selenium, and diallyl disulfide. These nutrients help fight microbial agents, detoxify and improve liver function, stabilize blood sugar levels, and so much more!
  • One of the most amazing benefits of garlic is its cancer fighting and prevention properties. Studies show that it can kill cancer cells while also preventing many different types of cancer.

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