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Garlic is among the most widely consumed spice worldwide, especially during the winters. The season of winter may bring a lot of respiratory, digestive and immunity issues and garlic, in some ways, can help prevent these disorders due to its active compounds.
According to a study, allicin, a principal bioactive compound in garlic has many therapeutic benefits such as antibiotic, antioxidant, cardioprotective and antimicrobial. Allicin is mainly activated when garlic is chopped or crushed. 
Photo Credit: Winter photo created by wayhomestudio - www.freepik.com
Garlic also contains other essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, choline and beta-carotene. 
In this article, we will discuss how garlic may help during winter. Take a look.
1. Fights cough and cold
Garlic has potent antiviral and antimicrobial properties, says a study. These properties can help people fight against cough and cold pathogens which are high during the winter season. Garlic is mainly consumed as a spice and added to foods, however, some people also use garlic supplements to boost immunity in the treatment and prevention of common cold and cough. 
2. Boosts immunity
Garlic is suggested to have immunomodulating effects as allicin in it may help maintain the homeostasis of the immune system. Experts say that cold temperatures during the winter tend to suppress the immune system and allow pathogens to easily invade the body.
Allicin may help promote white blood cells production in the body, suppress the inflammatory cytokines and help boost immunity and keep pathogens at bay. 
3. Provides warmth to the body
The low temperature during winters can increase the risk of heart, digestive and respiratory problems and can even cause death. According to Ayurveda, garlic has tamasic and rajasic properties which are determined by the pungent characteristics of the spice. The pungency of garlic tends to increase the heat and bile in the body and thus, increase the body temperature.
Ayurveda also adds that garlic is a blood purifier and may also help improve the production of blood, which again helps with increasing the temperature of the body and provide warmth.
4. Fights winter allergies
A study has mentioned the anti-allergic effects of aged black garlic, a garlic type that is prepared by treating raw garlic cloves with several ageing processes. The study says that ethyl acetate in aged black garlic has anti-allergic effects that may help suppress the release of beta-hexosaminidase and TNF-α and thus, prevent immune-mediated allergic reactions such as asthma whose intensity usually increases during winter.
Both hexosaminidase and TNF are responsible for increasing inflammatory factors in the body, leading to allergic reactions. 
5. Keeps winter cholesterol in check
According to a study, the winter season is among the potential risk factors for heart diseases due to an increase in serum cholesterol levels. This could be because of excess food intake and lack of physical activities during the season. To cope with surrounding cold temperature, people usually tend to increase their food intake to maintain body temperature and reduce outdoor physical activities.
These activities aggravate cholesterol in their body and make people prone to heart diseases.  Garlic may help lower cholesterol to a great extent and keep the heart healthy due to potassium and magnesium. 
6. Maintains good digestion
Experts say that when our body is exposed to cold temperature for a longer duration, it tends to slow down the body's metabolism, including digestion to conserve energy and heat. Garlic is one of the popular folk remedies that may help regulate digestion and prevent problems related to it. It may also help improve the body's metabolism for easier digestion. 
7. Prevents toothache
Winter tends to cause a lot of oral and gum issues. The drop in temperature during the cold weather decreases the blood flow and increases pressure in the oral nerves, which may lead to dental pain or toothache. Garlic's pungency can help increase blood supply to dental areas while its anti-inflammatory activity may reduce pain and swelling. Garlic may also help reduce the risk of periodontitis and dental caries due to the presence of allicin.
Photo Credit: Woman photo created by user18526052 - www.freepik.com
Garlic is a great spice to manage and prevent disorders that are prevalent during the winter season. Add this amazing food ingredient to your curries and soups and stay healthy.
Yes, garlic is a good food ingredient to be consumed during the winter season. Allicin and vital nutrients like potassium, calcium and magnesium in garlic help keep the body warm and protect against heart diseases, cold and cough, which are prevalent during the season.
Eating garlic every day in sufficient quantities can help boost immunity and keep cough and cold at bay. It may also help lower cholesterol levels and keep the heart healthy. However, prevent its excess use as it may cause certain digestive problems or cause rashes.
Garlic has an active compound called allicin which gets activated when chopped or crushed. Eating garlic can help boost the immune system, which can help prevent or manage colds. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of garlic may also help fight pathogens and keep us healthy.
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