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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Health Food >>  Garlic Health Benefits

Information On Garlic

Contrary to popular belief, garlic is in fact a vegetable but it does belong to the family of allium vegetables like onions and leek. Despite garlic’s popular association with folklore, it’s a lot more useful to us than as a repellant for vampires! Garlic has long been valued as wonderful seasoning ingredient that can add aroma and taste to your cooking, but it also has a great deal of nutritional value to offer. The taste for garlic is one that probably is acquired, but whether or not you care for its pungent flavor, garlic does offer significant health benefits. You can simply add raw chopped garlic or pressed garlic to your meals, and if you do find the taste to be too strong, you can add the garlic in to your meals whilst cooking.
The less cooked it is however, the more nutrition it offers, so try and add it in last.

Health Benefit Of Garlic

Garlic health benefits have been recognized and valued greatly by the ancients, with the herb used for both culinary and medicinal purposes since ancient times, particularly in Asia and Egypt. Garlic was used traditionally in the treatment of various health conditions like intestinal parasites and also for various infections. While advancements in modern medicine in the twentieth century ushered in with the industrial revolution may have cast aspersions on traditional folk remedies, most of garlic’s health benefits have come to be recognized with modern scientific research. Modern medical research has simply given us a better insight into the healing effects of garlic, including its effects of lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. 

Most of the garlic health benefits are attributed to the sulfur containing compounds in it that also lend it its distinctive aroma and flavor. If you find raw garlic to be unpalatable because of its pungent flavor you can even add garlic powder to your meals or consume garlic supplements. Here are few more nutritional benefits of eating garlic:

  • Earache: One of the most commonly known garlic oil benefits would be its usefulness for relieving earaches.
  • Respiratory Tract Infections: Garlic is also believed to help treat various respiratory tract infections because of its effectiveness as an expectorant. While the general health benefits of garlic should be reason enough to include it in your regular meals, garlic health benefits for men are particularly notable.
  • Cancer: The regular consumption of garlic is believed to help reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men, probably because of its antioxidant effects.
  • Heart: Men are also at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease as compared to women and the effectiveness of garlic in controlling cholesterol levels and cardiac disease is well established. Also read information on garlic and heart disease
  • Women: Garlic health benefits for women are just as valuable as it can help to reduce the risk of various infections that women are particularly vulnerable to.
  • Yeast Infections: Garlic is believed to help prevent and treat yeast infections that are prevalent in women, and it has also been found to contain antibacterial properties. Keep in mind that cooking garlic does tend to destroy its healing properties, so avoid adding it in to your meals until almost done cooking.
  • Digestion: Garlic supplements are also often recommended by naturalists to relieve various digestive ailments and facilitate healthy digestion.
  • Cholesterol: Garlic powder health benefits and garlic supplement benefits offer the same protection as the sulfur compounds in these garlic products work to reduce cholesterol by facilitating the release of bile in the gallbladder and by restricting cholesterol production in the liver.
  • Blood Pressure: Allicin is an important compound when you consider garlic’s nutritive properties and health benefits as it is responsible for many of the healing effects of garlic. Allicin is also responsible for the action of garlic in reducing high blood pressure, as it causes a release of nitric oxide, thereby reducing stiffness in the blood vessels. Most of garlic’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties are also attributed to the action of allicin.
  • Immunity: Garlic is also a rich source of vitamin C and various flavonoid anti-oxidants like carotene beta, all of which help protect against infection by strengthening immune function. Just 100 grams of garlic would provide you with most of your daily requirement of vitamin B6, manganese and vitamin C, while containing no cholesterol.

Garlic Nutrition Facts & Properties

Despite its unassuming appearance the nutrition in garlic is particularly high. Garlic is very low in saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium, all prerequisites to any heart healthy food. Garlic nutritive properties include a high content of essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, manganese, and selenium, and it is also regarded as a rich source of vitamin C and B6. The abundant supply of antioxidants and phyto-nutrients also adds to garlic’s nutritive value. Garlic bulbs contain organic thio-sulfinites like diallyl trisulfide, diallyl disulfide, and allyl propyl disulfide. Cutting or crushing the bulb causes an enzymatic reaction that result in them forming allicin, which helps to lower cholesterol production. Allium vegetables like garlic can significantly enhance the nutritional value of your meals because of their combination of flavonoids and sulfur containing nutrients. Try and include vegetables like garlic and onion in your regular meals. Ideally, a single serving of food for one person should contain at least half a clove of garlic.

Calories In Garlic

Garlic has a very low caloric value and also contains no cholesterol, while being extremely low in sodium and fats. This makes it an ideal ingredient in foods for anyone concerned with weight loss or looking for a heart healthy diet. Low levels of calories in garlic aside you should include it in your regular meals because of its cholesterol lowering effects. Moreover, any diet for cardiac patients contains little to no salt, and garlic can compensate for the loss of taste with its strong flavor and aroma.
  • A single clove of garlic contains just 4 calories.
  • Garlic bread calories would however be significantly higher, with 100 grams of garlic bread containing 330 calories.
  • Keep in mind that while raw garlic calories may be extremely low, your method of preparation will be the main influencing factor in the caloric value of your meals.

Side Effects Of Garlic

When consumed in moderation, garlic side effects are negligible on a healthy individual. Few dangers are:
  • Stomach Problems: Garlic effects on the body can be a cause for concern however if consumed in large quantities, as this may cause symptoms like stomach irritation, heartburn and flatulence.
  • Cholesterol: There are a few garlic hazards for blood flow and blood sugar levels. While garlic’s effects on cholesterol may be highly beneficial, keep in mind that the anti clotting and blood thinning effects of garlic can pose a risk to those on anti-coagulant drugs.
  • Diabetes: Diabetics should also consult with their doctors before consuming garlic, and should closely monitor blood sugar levels, as garlic can cause a lowering a blood sugar levels, increasing the effects of anti diabetic medications.
  • If you suffer from any health condition or are scheduled for surgery it would be advisable to consult your doctor before consuming any garlic supplements.
Submitted on January 16, 2014