Garlic is one of the most common ingredients in Indian dishes but apart from imparting flavour to food, this tiny, white pod also has immense benefits of garlic in medicinal properties. Used since time immemorial to treat various ailments, garlic is one ingredient in your kitchen that has a number of uses. Here are the health benefits of garlic you should know about.
What makes garlic so special?
- It has a variety of potent sulphur-containing compounds which are the reason for its characteristic pungent odour.
- Allicin, the vital compound in the pod, is known to have great anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant properties. That is why garlic is best had when it’s finely chopped, minced or pureed.
- Garlic is also a reliable source of selenium.
- Allicin, along with other compounds like ajoene, alliin, etc. also have a healing effect on your circulatory, digestive and immunological systems and help in lowering blood pressure, detoxification, healing, etc.
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Helps to keep bacterial and viral infections at bay
Due to its innate compounds, benefits of garlic can keep both bacterial and viral infections at bay.
- They help control bacterial, viral, fungal, yeast and worm infections.
- Fresh garlic is thought to play a role in preventing food poisoning by killing bacteria like Coli, Salmonella enteritidis, etc.
Can help treat skin infections
Since it has both antibacterial and antiviral properties, benefits of garlic is great when it comes to treating skin infections. The chemical ajoene found in garlic may help treat fungal skin infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot.
Helps to prevent the formation of clots in the body
The anti-clotting properties of ajoene found in garlic help in preventing the formation of blood clots in the body. While this fact is great for people with heart ailments and those prone to suffering from a stroke and other clotting disorders, it may also increase the risk of bleeding after surgery.
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Can keep your blood pressure levels in check
Allicin in garlic blocks the activity of angiotensin II (a protein that is responsible for the increase in blood pressure) and helps in reducing blood pressure. The polysulphides present in garlic are converted into a gas called hydrogen sulphide by red blood cells that help dilate your blood vessels and helps control blood pressure.
Helps protect your heart
- With age, your arteries tend to lose their ability to stretch and garlic can help maintain their elasticity.
- Benefits of Garlic also helps protect the heart from the damaging effects of free oxygen radicals.
- The sulphur-containing compounds of garlic also prevent our blood vessels from becoming blocked and slow the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
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Can reduce the levels of bad cholesterol
- The allicin present in garlic helps moderately lower our blood triglycerides and total cholesterol.
- This compound also helps reduce arterial plaque formation.
- The anti-arthritic property of garlic is due to allyl sulphide and Thiacremonone.
- Garlic has also been shown to improve allergic airway inflammation (allergic rhinitis).
Can protect you against frequent colds and bouts of the sore throat
- The daily use of garlic might reduce the frequency and number of colds.
- Its antibacterial properties help in treating throat irritations.
- Garlic may also reduce the severity of upper respiratory tract infections.
- Its ability to promote expectoration makes it irreplaceable in chronic bronchitis.
Helps keep your blood sugar levels in check
Garlic increases insulin release and regulates blood sugar levels in your body, especially if you are a diabetic.
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Benefits of Garlic help keep cancer at bay
- Garlic’s anti-cancer properties are due to the allyl sulphides it contains.
- According to studies, diallyl sulphide found in garlic inhibits the transformation of PhIP (a type of compound that has been associated with increased incidence of breast cancer) into carcinogens.
Benefits of Garlic beat iron deficiency and anaemia
Diallyl sulphides present in garlic increase the production of ferroportin (a protein that helps in the absorption and release of iron) and improves iron metabolism — all of which helps prevent iron deficiency and associated diseases like anaemia.
Helps relieve pain caused due to a toothache
It can help relieve toothaches due to its antibacterial and analgesic properties. But be aware that it can be irritating to the gum