The 8 health benefits of garlic
Garlic is an exceptional condiment whose origins date back to Ancient Egypt. Southern cuisines even give it a real vegetable status. However, it continues to enjoy a bad reputation, especially because of the bad breath it gives us. But then, what are the benefits of garlic?
Garlic is a bulb of the same botanical family as onion, shallot, chives, or lily and tulip! Quoted for the first time in an Egyptian papyrus dating back over 3500 years, garlic has been a commodity used for millennia for its medicinal benefits.
A few garlic anecdotes
Already in the time of Ancient Egypt, the slaves who built the pyramids were given raw garlic to prevent infectious diseases which were then contracted during the construction of the pyramids.
Garlic was also included in the diet of Roman soldiers, to increase their immune defense and be more effective on the battlefields.
The different kinds of garlic
If white garlic is the most common, there are also:
- pink garlic, smaller, more distinctive and stronger,
- or even purple garlic, rarer on our plates.
Nutritional composition of garlic
How many calories in garlic?
Garlic provides an average of 131 calories per 100 grams. It is composed of 7.9% protein, 4.7% fiber, 0.47% fat (almost not), and 21.5% carbohydrates, the rest of its weight being represented by water ( about 65% water).
Knowing that a clove of garlic weighs approximately 7 to 12 grams, you might as well say that the calories ingested are very low. You can therefore worry-free use it to decorate your dishes, even if you are careful about your weight!
A slimming ally
Garlic adds flavor to dishes without weighing them down in terms of calories. Ideal in the case of a low-calorie diet, it can bring its share of flavors and thus offset the reduction in fat.
The 8 benefits of garlic
# 1 a powerful antibacterial and antivirus
Because of its remarkable antibacterial and antiviral activity, garlic has been used for centuries to fight various bacteria and viruses. Indeed, its main active ingredient, the allicin, contains powerful antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral known to kill many pathogenic bacteria.
(Remember my little story of Egyptian slaves or even Roman soldiers who used it to boost their immunity!).
Garlic is an excellent condiment to add to our dishes in winter or during periods when we feel a small drop in immunity. In addition, it is so good!
# 2 It limits the risk of food poisoning
Due to its anti-bacterial properties, certain studies have made it possible to demonstrate that the consumption of garlic would help to prevent food poisoning by destroying bacteria such as E. Coli, Staphylococcus aureus or even Salmonella enteritidis.
# 3 a powerful antioxidant
Garlic is an important source of antioxidants which have the characteristic of destroying free radicals (= molecules which destroy our healthy cells and are at the origin of aging and the appearance of a large number of diseases).
# 4 It decreases inflammation
Garlic is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. However, many diseases involve more or less local inflammation in the body (although it is not yet known whether the inflammation is the origin or the consequence).
# 5 it reduces bad cholesterol
Administered over the long term, garlic would improve hyperlipidemia (= too high blood lipid levels). Indeed, we find that its consumption leads to an improvement in HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and a decrease in LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol).
# 6 It decreases the risk of hypertension
Garlic is known to lower blood pressure.
# 7 It decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease
Garlic has powerful cardiovascular benefits. It decreases the risk of hypertension, as we saw in the previous point, and it is also known to decrease blood clotting by reducing the formation of blood clots.
If we add its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, we understand why garlic is known to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (= deposition of bad fats on the wall of blood vessels) and myocardial infarction.
# 8 It helps against the prevention of certain cancers
Garlic has a protective effect against many cancers.
According to studies, patients with bladder cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and stomach cancer have shown a reduction in the tumor after being treated with garlic. This effect is due to the presence of sulfur compounds (such as allicin, ajoene, or allyl trisulfide ) which also give it this particular taste.
In what form should garlic be consumed?
Garlic is a commodity-rich in virtues, however, to take full advantage of these benefits, favor as much as possible raw garlic and avoid dried garlic powder (which brings no interest, apart from its taste). Indeed, it is when it is believed that garlic best retains its properties!
The simplest and most practical use of garlic on a daily basis is to add it as a seasoning to your dishes. To do this, grate or chop the fresh garlic cloves and add them to your preparations (salads, dressings, soups, sauces, etc.: there are many possibilities).
The amount of garlic will depend on the intensity of the taste you want to add to your recipe. A clove of garlic per person is ideal for a subtle and light taste, but you can increase the quantities if you want a more pronounced taste. In any case, don’t forget that the most important thing is that you like the taste!