Escape to the Country
7 Reasons Why You Should Start Adding More Garlic To Your Diet
Scientific studies have found that consuming garlic as a regular part of your diet has many health benefits and could potentially prolong your life.
Since Fall is the best season for planting garlic, we couldn’t help thinking about how much we love our favorite spice. Garlic is commonly used to add flavor to many of our favorite holiday dishes and warm Winter comfort foods that we’re already craving, and it’s no secret that a dash of garlic makes pretty much everything taste better! Just look at this mouth-watering clip from “Escape to the Country” when our host got to learn what makes black garlic so delicious!
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In addition to adding flavor, garlic comes with many health benefits that might even prolong your life. Garlic has been used for its medicinal and therapeutic properties for at least the past 5,000 years. Ancient artifacts and texts show that the famed physician Hippocrates used to prescribe garlic in ancient Greece to treat respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion, and fatigue. Records also show that some of the first Olympians from Greece took garlic, likely because they saw it as an early performance enhancer for their sports. There is also evidence that garlic was relied upon as a medicinal and therapeutic agent in Egypt as far back as when the Giza Pyramids were built, and in both Ancient China and India. Now, modern science has begun to confirm that garlic’s healing properties do exist and are much more than an old wives tale from the past.
Garlic is highly nutritious but low in calories.
A clove of garlic is only around 4 calories, but it is packed with essentially a bit of every vitamin or nutrient you could possibly need. Garlic generally contains manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, selenium, and fiber. In slightly lesser amounts, garlic also provides your body with calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and Vitamin B1.
Garlic can combat sickness.
Garlic and garlic supplements have been known to strengthen the immune system. While more research needs to be done to definitively say garlic can combat illness, one 12-week study has found that the participants who took daily garlic supplements suffered from colds 63% less than the group who took a placebo. A separate study found that when people took garlic supplements, their cold and flu symptoms went away in 1.5 days instead of 5 days. With this year’s cold and flu season expected to be particularly severe, it can’t hurt to start adding more garlic to our diets on the chance it will prevent us from getting sick or mitigate the severity of our symptoms.
Garlic can prevent chronic diseases.
In addition to stopping the common cold in its tracks, garlic has also been shown to prevent chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. Scientists now believe that chronic inflammation can trigger chronic diseases in the body. Since garlic is shown to reduce inflammation, it can prevent chronic diseases from developing. For example, one study examined the effect of taking 1,000 mg of garlic supplements each day on 70 women who were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. After eight weeks, the findings showed that the women who took the garlic supplements had lower inflammatory markers, less pain and fatigue, and fewer tender joints compared with the placebo group. Additional studies have found promising results correlating consuming garlic with lowering the risk for developing certain cancers, including Prostate cancer, Brain Cancer, and Lung Cancer.
In addition, garlic has been shown to help prevent the development of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease in the elderly. This is because garlic is rich in antioxidants that support the body’s protective mechanisms against oxidative stress, which means garlic helps your body cope better with imbalances between free radicals and antioxidants. It also is shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. When these benefits are combined, the risk of developing common brain diseases significantly lessens.
Garlic is good for your heart.
Speaking of lower blood pressure, consuming garlic is good for your heart health. Garlic has been connected with lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol, which decreases your risk of developing heart disease or suffering from strokes or heart attacks. Studies have shown that consuming garlic is just as effective as the drug Atenolol at reducing high blood pressure over a 24-week period, and doesn’t have the same nasty side effects as the medication. As far as cholesterol goes, numerous studies show that garlic is effective at lowering total and LDL (the bad) cholesterol.
Another health perk that comes with eating garlic is a lower likelihood of forming blood clots. When left untreated, blood clots can be lethal and can cause heart attacks or strokes. This implies that eating garlic should be incorporated into a heart-healthy lifestyle that also includes a balance of diet and exercise beyond just eating garlic.
Garlic can strengthen your bones.
More research is needed, but initial studies suggest that garlic can improve bone health and strength. At the time of this writing, the only real study of note examined the effect garlic had on the bones of menopausal women. The study determined that a daily dose of dry garlic extract was able to significantly decrease a marker of estrogen deficiency. If it can be verified, these results are important because women tend to produce less estrogen as they age. This is a bad thing for many reasons, one of which being estrogen is important for bone density. When women have an estrogen deficiency, their bones may be weaker and can be more easily broken. That said, the results are promising and other studies conducted in England have concluded that eating allium vegetables, such as garlic, can prevent hip osteoarthritis and potentially be used as a treatment for the condition.
Eating garlic may make you feel less tired.
As mentioned above, garlic was used by athletes in ancient Greece as one of the first “performance enhancers” in fitness and sports. Today, scientists are beginning to confirm that garlic may reduce fatigue in daily life and improve our athletic performance during exercise. Only a few human studies have been done, but so far research has revealed that garlic can improve exercise capacity in people diagnosed with heart disease and can reduce feelings of exercise-induced fatigue. Since this theory is still inconclusive, you’ll have to work garlic into your diet and see if you notice a difference in your gym workouts and your daily energy levels.
Eating garlic makes other healthy foods taste good.
At the end of the day, garlic tastes delicious and is easy to include in your diet. Even if all the science were to eventually be proven wrong, consuming more garlic can’t hurt. It might even encourage you to eat other healthy foods you wouldn’t normally touch by improving the flavor. Adding garlic can also help you reduce your salt intake, which is a good thing since most people consume too much salt. If eating garlic helps you consume more healthy foods and has all these health benefits in itself, it’s really a win-win!
Of course, always consult with a medical professional or qualified nutritionist before making significant changes to your diet. Some people are allergic to garlic. Similarly, people who suffer from certain medical conditions, such as blood disorders, need to consult with their physician before increasing their garlic intake. Similarly, if you take medications like blood thinners you should also get your doctor’s approval before increasing the amount of garlic you consume. In general, if you aren’t sure how changing your diet may impact you it’s always better to ask a licensed medical professional so you can be sure you’re making the best decision for you.
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