Garlic is versatile and has many health benefits. The smell sometimes makes people not want to add garlic to their diet but the benefits outweigh the price you would pay in powerful breath. If you’re concerned about it though, you can minimize the smell by sucking on a lemon wedge or chewing on a sprig of parsley. Both work well to neutralize the garlic odor in your mouth.
Garlic can be eaten raw but most people prefer to add it to cooked foods. It gives your food a flavorful boost. You can also buy garlic supplements that may help reduce garlic breath.
The following are some of the health benefits of garlic.
1. Heart and circulation
Powerful antioxidants found in garlic can help reduce free radicals in your body. Free radicals are dangerous molecules that can damage tissue and accelerate the aging process. This means that garlic promotes heart health, reduces and repairs damaged cells and supports healthy blood flow throughout your body, resulting in better circulation. It lowers blood pressure, reduces LDL cholesterol and helps regulate blood sugar. Garlic also relaxes the lining of the blood vessels, thereby helping to reduce plaque buildup in your arteries. This can help prevent strokes and heart attacks.
2. Immune system support
Garlic contains a substance, called Allicin, which is a natural antibiotic. It reduces the ability of germs to grow and produce bacteria in your body. It also boosts your body’s natural defenses helping to rid you allergies, colds, and infections.
Detoxification is a process your body goes through to remove toxins so it can perform better. Garlic aids with detoxification and helps your body’s own defenses work better by improving the function of your immune system.
3. Cancer defense
Some studies show that a diet rich in garlic could help protect your body form various types of cancers, such as colon, breast and prostate cancer. Garlic contains chemical substances that may actually block cancer-activating carcinogens from being formed in the body.
4. Pain reliever
Garlic is a natural painkiller. It reduces the pain and itch of bug bites, ringworm or other rashes. To apply to the affected area, cut a clove in half and rub the cut side all around the wound.
It can also lessen the pain of toothaches. In a similar fashion, apply the cut side of the garlic directly onto the tooth and gums. You can also take a clove and break it up a little with a hammer or mallet and put the whole thing right over the affected tooth. Hold this in place for 10-15 minutes and your pain could be gone.
5. Acne Treatment
Many swear by applying a garlic mask for their acne. Garlic has natural antifungal and antibacterial properties which could help to clear up acne prone skin. Make your own mask by crushing several cloves of garlic and mixing with Manuka honey. Apply directly to your face and let sit for approximately 20 minutes, rinse with warm water, blot dry and apply lotion for sensitive skin.
Everyone can benefit from adding a little extra garlic to his or her diet.