Garlic has been used medicinally for over 5,000 years. An article in the Journal of Nutrition states that ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC), often called “the father of Western medicine,” used garlic to treat many conditions and illnesses.
Today, garlic is best known and loved as a delicious ingredient in hundreds of dishes. But, a renewed interest in holistic healing has resulted in research showing clear evidence that ancient healers got it right when they prescribed garlic. Studies indicate the fragrant vegetable offers significant wellness benefits.
An Immune System Booster
The immune system plays a huge part in fighting conditions ranging from the common cold to cancer, and garlic has properties that boost the immune system. That is why garlic was used to prevent gangrene in both WWI and WWII.
Consuming garlic can help reduce the chances of getting the flu and colds. In one study of 41,000 women aged 55 – 69, participants who routinely ate fruits, vegetables, and garlic had a 35% lower colon cancer risk. More Garlic Benefits include wiping out bacteria and infections and helping the body fight disease once a person gets sick.
Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels
According to Medical News Today, adding garlic to your diet can improve your blood’s lipid profile, strengthen blood antioxidant potential, and significantly reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Simply put, consuming garlic regularly reduces high cholesterol and helps lower blood pressure in patients suffering from hypertension.
Cancer Prevention Properties
Oregon State University research shows that garlic contains organosulfur compounds that have been associated with cancer prevention. Garlic has sulfur-containing compounds that are specifically linked to lower gastrointestinal cancer rates.
Per Livestrong, garlic is most helpful when eaten raw. In studies, participants who ate raw garlic at least twice a week had reduced lung cancer rates compared to those who consumed it less frequently. Crushing, slicing, or chopping raw garlic activates compounds like allicin, which increases potency.
A 2013 China-Japan Friendship Hospital study indicated, “Allium vegetables, especially garlic, are related to a decreased risk of prostate cancer.” Allium vegetables include chives, scallions, leeks, onions, and garlic.
Alcohol-Related Liver Injuries
When individuals over-consume alcohol for long periods, their livers can become severely damaged and eventually stop functioning. With that in mind, scientists at the School of Public Health, Shandong University, China, researched whether garlic’s organosulfur compounds can protect the liver from long-term, ethanol-induced oxidative stress. Their studies showed that garlic’s diallyl disulfide (DADS) could protect against liver damage.
Protection Against Food Poisoning
The same garlic properties that kill bacteria in the body can destroy bacteria associated with food poisoning. Garlic may offer some protection against E. coli and salmonella. It’s important to note that proper food handling and sanitation procedures are critical for preventing food poisoning.
Athlete’s Foot Treatment
Garlic is a fungicide, meaning it can kill various types of fungi. As a result, it can be used to treat athlete’s foot, a foot fungus. Soaking feet in garlic water or rubbing raw garlic on feet will attack and destroy the itchy fungus.
While garlic is a delicious, worldwide favorite ingredient in dozens of dishes, it is also a health and immunity booster. The vegetable has been linked to cancer prevention and has elements that may be able to reverse liver damage associated with excessive alcohol consumption. Eating raw garlic can lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, offer some protection from food poisoning, and help cure athlete’s foot.