From fresh cloves to odorless garlic supplements & aged extracts, the health benefits of garlic range from anti-aging to anti-cancer, immune boosting to protecting memory. One of the most significant trends in alternative health is the newfound focus on everyday foods and ingredients that can give a big boost to health. Garlic is one of these foods with remarkable health benefits, whether it’s taken raw or used in supplements.
Uses Of Garlic
Most people think of garlic as that innocuous little bulb that’s great for flavoring cooking, but research shows that it’s got a lot more going for it than that. You can use garlic to make garlic butter, garlic sauce, and take garlic supplements to stay healthy.
Garlic is rich in antioxidants and other chemicals that support many aspects of wellness, from heart and circulatory health to immunity and anti-aging.
You can swallow fresh raw garlic cloves whole or you can use it in your regular cooking.
For those of us who’d rather not have garlic-smelling breath all the time, there are odorless alternatives.
Aged garlic extract is a popular option in odorless garlic supplements, and can be used for the bulb’s medicinal properties without worrying about the aroma. These supplements still contain the allicin, alliin, and ajoene that make potent, raw garlic so effective.
Want to grow your own garlic? Once you taste homegrown garlic you’ll never want to eat store bought again. And it’s easy to grow year after year by saving your own “seed”.
Have you ever had early green garlic? You can get it by picking the immature garlic while its leaves are still green. Use it in your salads for an amazing taste kick!
Garlic Health Benefits
Many health benefits of garlic have been studied and documented: here are just a few.
Immune system support
Garlic and other spices and herbs are often recommended to strengthen immunity against cold and flu. Studies show that garlic boosts the body’s production of white blood cells, the body’s best defense against pathogenic invaders.
Eat a couple cloves every day to keep your immune system in tip shape. If you don’t like the smell, steam a bunch of cloves (steaming will get rid of the strong smell and taste) and add one or two each day to your salad. I steam a week’s worth on Sundays and keep it in the fridge: makes it easy and gets rid of procrastination in taking it.
Or, make some garlic soup: YUM!
High in vitamins and minerals
Garlic is high in vitamins C and B6 and a good source of these minerals:
Garlic is great for cholesterol and hearth health
Garlic has been found to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood pressure, and plaque formation. One study at the University of California found that 200 mg of aged garlic extract taken daily lowered heart attack risk by 65%.
My mother uses 6 cloves of garlic every day to keep her blood pressure in check. Sometimes she adds it to her food (if the recipes works well with garlic). Other times she makes garlic mayonnaise (mix together garlic, salt and olive oil) that she then drizzles on her salads. And other times she just pops them in like candy (after steaming) 😉
Anti-aging and anticancer benefits of garlic
Antioxidants prevent damage to the cells: the kind of damage that can lead to memory loss, wrinkled skin, and even cancer.
Garlic cloves are high in antioxidants that prevent this kind of damage. Studies indicate that garlic may cut chances of stomach cancer by 50% and colon cancer by 35%. Here’s a good study about garlic consumption and cancer prevention.
Repelling mosquitoes, fleas and other insects
Another garlic benefit I love is that you can use it as a natural flea deterrent for pets. It can also be used by humans to repel mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and other biting bugs.
A few years ago I went on a mission trip to Peru and ate garlic to protect myself from malaria, and I was able to stay away from prescription medicine.
As you can see, there are many reasons to make garlic a daily routine to stay healthy. And as a gardener, it;s even better to use garlic you grow yourself 😉