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Health Benefits Of Garlic: From Common Cold To Cancer Treatment

The benefits of garlic are plenty; however, how many of these are, in fact, scientifically true? A kitchen staple in cuisines over the world and a widely-used home remedy, the uses of garlic are almost never-ending. Today, we will help you understand some of the scientifically-proven health benefits of garlic. The benefits of garlic mentioned here in this article are based on human studies.

Nutritional Value Of Garlic

The values mentioned here are of a single garlic clove [1].

Health Benefits Of Garlic

1. Provides relief from the common cold

Known for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties, garlic can improve your immunity, thereby protecting against illnesses such as the common cold. Also, the compound allicin in garlic helps kill the bacteria that cause sore throat. You can add garlic directly to your food or use garlic supplements [2].

2. Can help manage blood pressure levels

As per studies, the active compounds in garlic can help reduce high blood pressure levels, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, stroke etc. However, according to studies, supplement doses must be fairly high to have the desired effects. Therefore, the amount needed is about four garlic cloves per day [3].

3. Contains potent medicinal properties

The sulphur compounds in garlic are responsible for this property, especially allicin [4]. Garlic's health benefits are primarily attributed to sulphur compounds formed during the crushing, chewing, or chopping.

4. Can reduce the risk of heart disease

As aforementioned, the active compounds present in garlic can help reduce blood pressure levels and improve cholesterol levels - both of which work together to lower the risk of heart diseases [5].

5. May help prevent dementia

Due to its high antioxidant content, garlic (compounds) has been shown to help prevent the onset of cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia [6]. Also, garlic supplements have been shown to reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, particularly in those with high cholesterol.

6. May improve athletic performance

Reports show that garlic was used in the early times as a 'performance-enhancing substance' for athletes [7]. The herb's ability to improve athletic performance can be attributed to its ability to reduce fatigue and improve physical performance [8].

7. May improve bone health

While this point requires more research, existing studies show that garlic supplements may help improve bone health. A study showed that a daily dose of dry garlic extract, equal to 2 g of raw garlic, reduced the marker of oestrogen deficiency, thereby improving bone strength and reducing loss of bone mass [9][10].

8. May help detoxify

The sulphur compounds in garlic may help protect the internal organs against heavy metal toxicity [11]. Studies have shown that garlic reduced lead levels in the blood by 19 per cent and even clinical signs of toxicity, including headaches and high blood pressure levels [12].

On A Final Note...

The intake of high doses of garlic supplements does not make you immune to the disease. Garlic's medicinal properties can only improve health to a certain extent. Moreover, eating too much garlic can leave you with a smelly mouth.

Note: If you are taking blood-thinning medications, consult your doctor before increasing your garlic consumption.

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