"Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food" - these words belong to Hippocrates, who is often called the father of medicine. And it was this ancient Greek physician who attributed garlic as a cure for many diseases, including respiratory diseases, parasites, digestive disorders and chronic fatigue. And modern science, after studying the beneficial properties of this vegetable, has confirmed its healing abilities.
Garlic is a vegetable from the genus Onion, actively used as a spice in cooking. The homeland of this perennial plant is considered to be Central Asia, and at present it is distributed throughout the world. Can reach 1 meter in height. Depending on the variety, there can be from 4 to 20 cloves in the garlic head.
- General characteristics
- A bit of history
- Useful properties
- Nutritional value
- Garlic: benefits and harms for the body
- Use in traditional medicine
- Daily dosages
- Side effects
- Combination with certain medications
- How to choose and store properly
- The healthiest way to cook garlic
- Application in cosmetology
- Other applications
A bit of history
This fruit has been known to mankind for thousands of years as food and medicine. It is believed that the builders of the Egyptian pyramids loved him, and this was almost 5 thousand years ago. As historians suggest, from Ancient Egypt, garlic came to the ancient civilizations that inhabited the Indus Valley (modern Pakistan and western India), and from there to China. It is believed that the inhabitants of ancient India took garlic as an aphrodisiac, although the representatives of the upper strata of society refused it because of the pungent smell.
For centuries in the Middle East, East Asia and Nepal, garlic has been used to treat bronchitis, hypertension, tuberculosis, liver disease, dysentery, colic, flatulence, intestinal parasites, rheumatism, diabetes mellitus and to eliminate fever. In ancient Greece, the participants in the Olympic Games used garlic as a "dope" that gives strength.
At the beginning of the 18th century in France, gravediggers took crushed garlic, believing that it would protect them from the plague. In the 20th century, during both world wars, cloves of this vegetable were given to soldiers to prevent gangrene. It was also used as an antiseptic: applied to wounds to prevent the spread of infection.
Entire books have been written about the benefits of this root vegetable. This representative of the Onions is rich in a variety of useful sulfur-containing compounds. Some of them are just responsible for the pungent smell of the vegetable. But when it comes to the sulfur compounds in garlic, it's important to remember that sulfur itself is a key element in maintaining our health. In addition to this, it is important to say that garlic is also an excellent source of manganese and selenium, vitamins B6 and C.
Today, these fruits help prevent cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis and clogged arteries. They are taken as a natural remedy that lowers cholesterol, pressure, and also as an immunostimulating drug. It is also believed that regular consumption of garlic reduces the risk of developing cancer. It is rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. However, researchers warn that even mild heat treatment reduces its anti-inflammatory effect.
Garlic is believed to be effective in preventing or improving health in:
- different types of cancer;
- coronary heart disease;
Garlic is a rich source of sulfur compounds, ascorbic acid, vitamin B6, selenium, manganese and other important health elements.
|Calorie content||203 kcal|
|Vitamin A||12 IU|
|Vitamin C||42.4 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin K||2.3 mcg|
|Vitamin B6||1.7 mg|
|Folic acid||4.1 mcg|
|Pantothenic acid||0.8 mg|
|Zinc ]||1.6 mg|
Garlic: benefits and harms for the body
The rich chemical composition provides the vegetable with a wide range of effects on the human body. This spicy spice can protect against many ailments.
People who eat raw garlic at least twice a week have a 44% lower risk of developing lung cancer. This assumption was made by Chinese researchers after a series of experiments. Their colleagues from the University of South Carolina (USA) discovered that the sulfur compounds contained in the vegetable effectively destroy glioblastoma cells (a type of brain tumor). At the same time, urologists from Japan have established a relationship between onion consumption and the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Garlic can be considered a universal remedy against cancer. And all thanks to the fact that the plant contains germanium - a powerful anti-cancer agent. At the same time, no other plant has such rich reserves of this element.
Getting rid of osteoarthritis
A team of British scientists after research stated that women whose diet contains vegetables from onions are less at risk of developing osteoarthritis. Participants in the experiment consumed garlic, leeks, shallots, and onions. After a month of observations, it turned out that their bone tissue was significantly thickened.
Protecting the heart
Garlic is most often cited as a plant useful in cardiovascular diseases and atherosclerosis. As some studies show, it is able to prevent certain types of heart disease, in particular atherosclerosis.
Diallyl trisulfide, found in garlic oil, protects the heart during and after a heart attack. Also, this substance is recognized as effective in the treatment of heart failure. Hydrogen sulfide, scientists say, can protect the heart from damage. Meanwhile, it is a volatile compound that is difficult to use in therapy. So the chemists focused on diallyl trisulfide, a component from garlic oil. As a result of experiments on laboratory mice, it was found that diallyl trisulfide reduces the risk of heart disease in animals by 61%.
Some time later, scientists made another important discovery: garlic oil prevents the development of cardiomyopathy in diabetic patients. By the way, this complication is one of the leading causes of death among diabetic patients.
As for the ability of garlic to reduce cholesterol, the opinions of scientists are divided. There is no definite answer to the relationship between this plant and cholesterol levels.
Protection against preterm birth
Infections during pregnancy increase the risk of preterm birth. Norwegian epidemiologists have been studying for a long time which foods have antimicrobial properties. At the end of the study, which involved almost 19 thousand women, scientists announced: they have found 2 products that can protect the mother and unborn child. They were garlic and dried fruits. In addition, in the course of the experiment, it was found that garlic also reduces the risk of miscarriages.
Benefits for iron metabolism
Garlic improves iron metabolism. When iron accumulates in the cells of the body, the transmembrane transporter ferroportin helps move the mineral from cell to cell. That is, ferroportin is a protein, without which the movement of iron would be impossible. And the role of garlic in this process is to stimulate the production of a sufficient amount of ferroportin. Thus, this plant affects the enrichment of the body with iron.Anti-cold remedy
According to the results of one of the experiments, if during the cold season for 12 weeks (from November to February) garlic supplements are taken or a fresh vegetable is eaten, this can prevent a cold or relieve its symptoms. On the other hand, a vegetable is able to strengthen the immune system, which is also extremely important for effective resistance to viruses.
Poison for parasites
Garlic is able to kill parasitic worms, in particular roundworms. Scientists came to this conclusion after another laboratory experiment. But since scientists have achieved such results in test tube conditions, it is still difficult to say whether garlic is so effective within the human body. Meanwhile, while scientists continue to explore the properties of garlic, it is known that this vegetable saved humanity from parasites many centuries ago.
Antibiotic and Antioxidant
Modern science has proven that garlic is a powerful broad-spectrum natural antibiotic. And what is most interesting: the bacteria contained in the human body can evolve over time and resist pharmaceutical antibiotics, but such a “trick” does not work with garlic. This means that the vegetable remains effective against bacteria all the time.
One of the most active components of garlic is allicin. This substance is produced during the grinding of this vegetable. And it is it that serves as the most powerful natural antibiotic that can inhibit the reproduction of microbes. It has been calculated that 1 mg of allicin has the same potency as 15 conventional units of penicillin.
As for antioxidant properties, they are more pronounced in a mature plant. At the same time, black garlic contains much more antioxidants than regular garlic.
Other benefits of garlic:
- applied to the skin relieves ringworm and psoriasis;
- reduces the size of the prostate gland;
- lowers blood pressure;
- regulates the level of sugar in the blood;
- accelerates weight loss;
- helps to remove splinters (glue a piece of tooth to the place with a splinter);
- treats fungus (garlic baths with warm water ).
Use in folk medicine
In folk medicine, garlic is known as an effective expectorant. It is used to treat asthma, chronic bronchitis, hoarseness, cough, most lung diseases.
Garlic juice with honey is used to treat asthma. With otitis - wrapping a tooth with a cloth, insert it into the ear at night. In addition, a sore throat was once treated with a vegetable, and gruel from it and salt were applied to bruises to relieve pain. You can stop a toothache if you attach a garlic clove cut in two to the gum. And the fresh juice of the plant was used to get rid of warts. Other ailments that folk healers have treated with garlic include herpes, insect bites, constipation, bloating, and abdominal cramps.Daily Values
But how much garlic should you eat to experience the health benefits? Nutritionists do not undertake to unequivocally answer this question, since an individual approach is needed for maximum benefit. But the average daily allowance for healthy adults looks something like this:
- fresh garlic - 2-5 g;
- garlic powder - 0.4-1.2 g;
- garlic oil - 2-5 g;
- extract - 300-1000 mg.
Treatment with plants is considered one of the safest. However, in some cases, herbs can also cause side effects. In general, garlic belongs to safe plants. But sometimes it can cause indigestion, bloating, body odor, burning sensation on the skin (after applying compresses). In addition, cases are known when the plant caused headaches and muscle pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, dizziness, as well as allergic and asthmatic reactions.
Among other things, garlic can thin the blood. For this reason, in order to avoid bleeding, it is prohibited for people after operations, as well as those taking blood-thinning drugs.
It is also worth consulting a doctor before using this spice for people with gastritis, ulcers in the digestive organs or with thyroid dysfunction.
Combination with certain medications
When studying the properties of garlic, it is important to know that regular consumption of this plant can affect the effectiveness of some medications. Here are some examples of combinations:
… isoniazid (drug used to treat tuberculosis) – the vegetable prevents the drug from being absorbed, making it ineffective;
…contraceptive pills – less effective;
…ciclosporin (prescribed after organ transplantation) – becomes less effective;
…blood-thinning drugs (including aspirin, clopidogrel, warfarin) – increased risk of bleeding;
…drugs used in HIV/AIDS – blood levels of protease inhibitors are reduced;
… non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including ibuprofen, naproxen) – increased risk of bleeding.
How to choose and store properly
Fresh garlic has the best taste and nutritional value. When choosing a vegetable, it is important to pay attention to the integrity of the husk. If the prong is lightly squeezed with your fingers, it should be tight and firm. It is better to avoid soft heads, shriveled, moldy, and those that have begun to sprout. The taste and benefits of such a vegetable are minimal. But the size is not an indicator of the quality of garlic.
It is better to store the vegetable in a cool place, protected from the light and heat of sunlight. This will help keep the freshness and prevent the garlic from sprouting.
Do not store food in tightly sealed containers such as refrigerators or freezers (this will impair flavor and texture).
The healthiest way to cook garlic
Raw garlic contains the most nutrients. But if the recipe for the dish provides for the heat treatment of the vegetable, it is better to add it in crushed form at the end of cooking. This will preserve its smell and nutritional properties. Too much heat will reduce the activity of sulfur compounds, which are important for heart health, and the garlic itself will take on a bitter taste. It is believed that 5-10 minutes is the optimal time for cooking garlic. You can also save more nutrients if you do not heat the vegetable to more than 120 degrees.
Use in cosmetology
Being a rich source of sulfur, garlic can solve almost all hair problems, make them beautiful and strong. To do this, you need to rub juice into your hair or apply garlic oil to them. The procedure, frankly, is not the most pleasant, if you remember the smell of the plant, but the result from it, no doubt, will please.
This plant is also useful for skin care. In particular, garlic juice evens out the tone of the face, eliminates age spots, and treats acne.
Many people know how sticky fingers get after chopping garlic. And all because this vegetable has the properties of natural glue.
Another interesting feature is that it helps to get rid of garden pests. As a natural pesticide, a mixture of garlic, water, liquid soap and oil is used.
Avid fishermen will be interested in the fact that the smell of garlic attracts fish better than any other bait. To increase catches, you can use a bait impregnated with the smell of this plant, or a small incised prong.
Garlic can improve health in many cases. Meanwhile, this plant cannot be perceived as a “panacea for all diseases”, and even more so, it is not an alternative to proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Garlic is only part of a large complex designed to improve well-being.
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