“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
Those are famous words from the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, often called the father of Western medicine.
He actually used to prescribe garlic to treat a variety of medical conditions.
Modern science has recently confirmed many of these beneficial health effects. At IMAC Regeneration Centers, our team of medical experts recommends our patients follow a healthy diet consisting of varied fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. If you have specific questions about nutrition, please contact your local IMAC facility.
Here are 10 health benefits of garlic that are supported by research.
1 – Garlic Contains Compounds with Potent Medicinal Properties
Garlic is a plant in the onion family that’s grown for its distinctive taste and health benefits. It contains sulfur compounds, which are believed to bring some of the health benefits.
2 – Garlic is Highly Nutritious but has very few Calories
Garlic is low in calories and rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. It also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients.
3 – Garlic Can Combat Sickness, Including the Common Cold
Garlic supplements are known to boost the function of the immune system.
One large, 12-week study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared to a placebo (Source). The average length of cold symptoms was also reduced by 70%, from 5 days in the placebo group to just 1.5 days in the garlic group.
Another study found that a high dose of aged garlic extract (2.56 grams per day) reduced the number of days sick with cold or flu by 61% (Source).
Adding garlic to your diet may be something to consider if you find yourself battling colds frequently.
4 – The Active Compounds in Garlic Can Reduce Blood Pressure
High doses of garlic appear to improve blood pressure for those with known high blood pressure (hypertension). In some instances, supplements may be as effective as regular medications.
5 – Garlic Improves Cholesterol Levels, Which May Lower the Risk of Heart Disease
Garlic supplements seem to reduce total and LDL cholesterol, particularly in those who have high cholesterol. HDL cholesterol and triglycerides do not seem to be affected.
6 – Garlic Contains Antioxidants
Oxidative damage from free radicals contributes to the aging process. Garlic contains antioxidants that support the body’s protective mechanisms against oxidative damage (Source).
High doses of garlic supplements have been shown to increase antioxidant enzymes in humans, as well as significantly reduce oxidative stress in those with high blood pressure (Source, Source, Source).
7 – Garlic May Help You Live Longer
Given the beneficial effects on important risk factors like blood pressure, it makes sense that garlic could help you live longer.
The fact that it can fight infectious disease is also an important factor, because these are common causes of death, especially in the elderly or people with dysfunctional immune systems.
8 – Athletic Performance Might Be Improved with Garlic Supplements
Garlic was one of the earliest “performance enhancing” substances. It was traditionally used in ancient cultures to reduce fatigue and enhance the work capacity of laborers. Most notably, it was given to Olympic athletes in ancient Greece (Source).
People with heart disease who took garlic oil for 6 weeks had a 12% reduction in peak heart rate and better exercise capacity (Source).
However, study results are mixed, as one study on nine competitive cyclists found no performance benefits (Source).
9 – Eating Garlic May Help Detoxify Heavy Metals in the Body
At high doses, the sulfur compounds in garlic have been shown to protect against organ damage from heavy metal toxicity.
A four-week study in employees of a car battery plant (excessive exposure to lead) found that garlic reduced lead levels in the blood by 19%. It also reduced many clinical signs of toxicity, including headaches and blood pressure (Source).
Three doses of garlic each day even outperformed the drug D-penicillamine in reducing symptoms.
Given the delicious taste of garlic and the health benefits, adding garlic to your diet should be a no-brainer! Peeling fresh garlic can be tricky, but this quick 2 minute video shows how you can easily peel multiple cloves in less than 30 seconds.
What’s your favorite way to eat garlic?