Garlic (Allium sativum) is a species in the onion genus Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and chinese onion. It has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as in Asia, Africa and Europe. Allium sativum is a bulb. It grows up to 0.6 meters in height. Garlic grows in many parts of the world and is a popular ingredient in cooking due to its strong smell and delicious taste.
Garlic contains allyl methyl sulfide with a pungent smell. It is a volatile liquid which is absorbed into the blood during the metabolism of garlic-derived sulphur compounds. When crushed, garlic gives allicin, an antibiotic and antifungal compound. Allicin from garlic is an antioxidant.
A study has shown that the active constituent of garlic s-allyl cysteine has anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective potential. They can protect from liposachharides induced cognitive deficit in rats by reducing the effects of neuroinflammation, oxidative stress. (1)
Nutritional Content Of Garlic
Garlic is low in calories but incredibly nutritious. garlic is rich in manganese, vitamin – C, B6, B1, calcium, potassium, selenium, phosphorous, iron.
Amounts per 1 cup (136 gm) of garlic contains: (2)
Manganese: 2.3 mg
Vitamin B6 : 1.7 mg
Vitamin C: 42.4 mg
Selenium: 19.3 mcg
Fiber: 2.9 grams
Iron : 2.3 mg
Calcium : 246 mg
Magnesium : 34 mg
Phosphorous : 208 mg
Potassium : 545 mg
Garlic has numerous medicinal benefits. Throughout ancient history, garlic has been used for treating diseases.
Combat Cold and Flue
The extract of garlic may enhance immune cell functions and can protect you from cold and flue. (3)
Another study has shown that the allicin content in garlic can prevent the attack by a common cold virus. (4)
(Also read –> Home Remedies for Cold and Cough)
Reduce Blood Pressure
Garlic supplementation can help to reduce blood pressure by protecting from oxidative stress and by imparting cardioprotection in hypertensives. (5)
Another study has shown that the aged garlic extract lowers blood pressure in patients with treated but uncontrolled hypertension. (6)
Lower the risk of Heart Disease
Garlic can help to lower the bad LDL cholesterol and thus can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Hypercholesterolemia is associated with the risk of heart disease. A study has shown that the cardioprotective action of garlic can help to cure Hypercholesterolemia. (7)
Garlic has a potent effect on cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and HDL-cholesterol. Thus, garlic may play an important role in the therapy of hypercholesterolemia. (8)
Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high cholesterol, high homocysteine, hypertension and inflammation, increase the risk of dementia, including its most common form, Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Oxidative damage is a major factor in cardiovascular disease and dementia, whose risk increases with age. The antioxidants in garlic help to fight against all the free radical and thus reduces oxidative damage. Thus the potent antioxidant properties of garlic can prevent cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and lowering the risk of dementia and AD. (9)
Improve Bone Health
Osteoporosis is a common problem in menopausal women due to oestrogen deficiency. There is an association between increasing pro-inflammatory cytokine activity and postmenopausal bone loss. Garlic has an immunomodulatory effect and can improve bone health by reducing bone loss.(10)
Another study has shown that diallyl disulphide, a compound found in garlic can help to protect from osteoarthritis, reduces the pain and inflammation. (11)
(Also read –> 16 Calcium Rich Foods For Vegans)