There is something irresistible about the aroma of roasted garlic. It is so captivating with its powerful notes, that it has long been used as a flavour booster in curries, stir-fries, pizza toppings, pastas, meat preparations, dips – you name it! It has the power to instantly liven up any dish and treat some of the most common ailments. Read on to unravel some surprising garlic benefits.
While garlic is a common ingredient in every kitchen, in the ancient times, it was highly valued for its numerous health benefiting properties, which are still followed in many cultures today. Our ancestors have used it as a bug-repellant, Medieval Europe against plague and the Egyptians would even bury it along with their dead!
The sulphur-containing compound, Allicin, found in fresh, crushed or chewed garlic has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, and some startling claims mention that it may help prevent some forms of cancer too. Garlic is a part of the onion family and the ‘bulb’ of this herb typically consists of 10-20 smaller sections called the ‘cloves’. Each small clove is a powerhouse of flavour as well as medicinal properties.
Every 100 grams of garlic will serve you with close to 150 calories, 33 grams of carbs, 6.36 grams of protein. Garlic is also enriched with Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc.
Dr. Simran Saini, Delhi-based Nutritionist and weight loss consultant is a fan of the medicinal benefits of garlic. She says, “The high sulphur content in garlic gives it antibiotic properties, helping keep the digestive system clean by flushing out toxins. It also builds the immunity against common cold and prevents heart ailments by clearing up blocked arteries. It is great for rejuvenation and healing of skin scars and gives a glow to the skin as it keeps digestion in top-shape.” She advises to consume garlic in a specific manner- place a clove between two teeth, bite a little to release its extracts and then swallow whole with water. She says, “the medicinal value of garlic is best unlocked when it is consumed raw.”
So here are the 7 best ways to use them –
1. The Blood Purifier
Tired of covering up those zits with concealer every morning? It’s time to tackle the root cause of acne by purifying your blood from inside to get healthy skin on the outside. Take two cloves of raw garlic with some warm water everyday, early in the morning and consume a lot of water the entire day. If you’re looking to shed some pounds, squeeze the juice of half a lemon in a glass of luke warm water and have it with 2 cloves of garlic in the mornings. Garlic will help to cleanse your system and flush out toxins.
2. Cold and Flu
Garlic is going to provide you relief from that stubborn cold and flu (yes, they absolutely love you and never want to leave). Taking 2-3 cloves of raw or cooked garlic a day or sipping some garlic tea (with a touch of honey or ginger to lift up the taste) is not only going to relieve a stuffed nose and cure the cold but also build your immunity against these frequent visitors over time.
According to Dr. Shikha Sharma, Delhi-based Health and Wellness Expert, and founder of Nutrihealth says,” One of the earliest uses of garlic was by meat-eaters because it was believed that meat could cause infection which garlic could fight off from the body. More commonly used by labourers who are exposed to infections and disease-friendly environments till recently, its plethora of health benefits has made white-collar workers also take to it.”
She added, “Garlic can be added to hot stews, broths and soups to fight sinusitis, cold and flu. And garlic is best had in its raw state.”
3. Prevention of Heart Disease
Consuming garlic on a daily basis (in food or raw) helps to lower cholesterol levels because of the anti-oxidant properties of Allicin. It is also immensely beneficial to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
It is essential to remember that the sulphur-containing compound Allicin tends to lose its medicinal properties when garlic is cooked whole. It is imperative to consume garlic raw or semi-cooked to derive any of its benefits.
4. Anti-bacterial and Anti-parasitic
Garlic is one of the best kept medicinal treasures of the past era – it has been used as an antibiotic to treat bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections for the last 7,000 years. Studies suggest diluted garlic extract helps children with tapeworm infections. A garlic-based mouthwash may not sound like fresh, minty breath but a very small quantity of its extracts is sufficient to ward off cavity-causing bacteria.
5. Cancer Prevention
Several studies have indicated an association between daily consumption of garlic and prevention of stomach and colorectal cancers. It is said to strengthen the immunity of the body against cancer.
6. For Skin and Hair
The invigorating properties of garlic protect the skin from the effect of free radicals and slow down the depletion of collagen which leads to loss of elasticity in aging skin. Applied topically, garlic does wonders to skin infected with fungal infections and provides relief from skin ailments like eczema. It is also an effective remedy for fungal infections like athlete’s foot and ringworms.
All of us know about the wonders of onion for hair but its brother, garlic is no less of a hero for your thinning mane. Well, its surprise time. Rubbing crushed garlic extract on your scalp or massaging with garlic-infused oil is known to prevent and even reverse hair loss.
Many of garlic’s astounding uses were forgotten in the folds of time but users (and believers) still vouch for the lesser-known benefits. One of them is against stubborn splinters. Place a piece of cut garlic over the splinter cut and cover with a bandage- and voila! Bye-bye splinter.
1. Asthma patients should not consume garlic as it may have side-effects.
2. Garlic should be avoided before surgeries or medical operations.
3. Do not consume more than 2-3 garlic cloves in a day without consulting a doctor.