Used for improving the flavour of countless savoury dishes, garlic is a versatile and delicious kitchen
staple. But there’s more to this humble vegetable than its great taste! Actually, garlic is packed with
vitamins and minerals, and has been used throughout history for its medicinal properties.
Many of the therapeutic benefits of garlic are thanks to an active ingredient called allicin. This
compound is what gives garlic its distinctive smell and taste. To get the most from garlic, it’s
recommended you cook it on a low heat or add it near the end of your cooking, as high
temperatures can kill the allicin.
Check out the host of health benefits garlic offers us:
1. It boosts immunity
If you’re feeling under the weather, you might want to add extra garlic to your dinner. Garlic is
thought to boost your immune system, and can help to ward off illnesses including the common
cold. In fact, a study found taking garlic supplements can reduce the length of cold symptoms by
2. It reduces cholesterol
Eating garlic every day can help to lower cholesterol levels. It’s believed this is down to allicin’s
antioxidant properties, which help remove ‘bad’ cholesterol from the blood.
3. It lowers blood pressure
Eating plenty of garlic daily, (or taking garlic supplements) reduces blood pressure for those who
suffer from high blood pressure. The active compound in garlic expands our blood vessels, making it easier to regulate blood pressure in the body. Regulated blood pressure lowers the risk of heart
attack and stroke.
4. It could help protect against cancer
Studies have suggested garlic could be linked to a reduced risk of several types of cancer, including cancer of the stomach, prostate, and colon. The active compounds in garlic appear to kill cancer cells, and prevent cancer from spreading. A recent study found that these benefits came from regularly eating raw and cooked garlic, rather than taking supplements.
5. It’s great for hair and skin
Garlic has antibacterial properties, so eating it regularly helps purify toxins from your blood, and this boosts your hair and skin health. Applying raw garlic direct to pimples can help clear them up, and you can also apply garlic topically to relieve fungal infections and eczema. Rubbing garlic extract on your scalp is even thought to reverse hair loss!
6. It's good for your gut
Garlic is great for digestion: it naturally reduces inflammation in the intestines. Garlic also acts as a
prebiotic, getting rid of bad bacteria in your gut while allowing the good bacteria to flourish. Studies have suggested certain kinds of garlic extract also increase levels of immune-boosting bacteria.
7. It balances blood sugar
It’s been found that raw garlic helps to regulate blood sugar levels, in particular reducing pre-meal
levels. This means garlic can be especially beneficial for people with diabetes.
Would you like to benefit from more garlic in your diet? Take a look at these delicious recipes.