15 Reasons To Enjoy The #1 Herb In America Today

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Most people only think of this super popular herb when they are cooking. You can smell it for blocks away when someone is using it, but most people don’t know that it has antiviral, antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal compounds.

Which herb are we talking about? Garlic, of course!

The most popular herb in America (and in many other countries as well) can help to protect and improve your overall health. To get the most out of your garlic, you should try to consume it raw. Crush it, slice it, or mince it, just be sure you add plenty of it to whatever it is you are cooking.

For thousands of years, garlic has been used a medicine. Now, modern scientific methods back up what the ancients already knew; garlic has powerful medicinal compounds.

Want to know why you should eat more of this pungent herb? Keep reading, because we have 15 amazing reasons that will have you eating garlic every day of the week!

 

1. Garlic Is a Powerful Detoxifier

When consumed regularly, the sulfur compounds in garlic have been proven to protect the organs from damage caused by heavy metals in the body. One study, conducted over a 1-month period, found that garlic reduced the levels of lead in the bloodstreams of employees of a car battery manufacturing plant, who had excessive exposure to lead, by as much as 19 percent. Garlic was also found to reduce many of the symptoms of toxicity, including high blood pressure and severe headaches. Three daily doses of garlic even outperformed the commonly prescribed drug D-penicillamine, when it came to the reduction of symptoms of lead toxicity.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

2. Improves Heart Health

This is one of the most commonly known reasons to eat more garlic; it has been well proven through numerous studies to lower cholesterol, improve blood circulation, and prevent heart disease. Garlic can prevent or slow hardening of the arteries, a process called atherosclerosis, which increases your risk of a stroke, heart disease, or a heart attack. To get the most heart-healthy benefits for your garlic buck, crush one or two cloves of organic garlic each day and swallow them whole. You can also consume a garlic supplement, but please speak with your doctor for the proper dosage for your particular situation.

 

3. Improve Your Athletic Performance with Garlic

Believe it or not, one of the earliest known “performance enhancing” drugs ever used was garlic. It was even given to Olympic athletes performing in Ancient Greece. Garlic has been traditionally used in many ancient cultures to reduce fatigue levels and improve the labor capacity of workers. Studies done with rats have shown that garlic helps with exercise performance.

 

4. Controls Blood Pressure

Several studies have proven that garlic reduces high blood pressure, especially the systolic pressure. Garlic dilates the blood vessels, making blood flow more smoothly. To help control your high blood pressure, crush one or two cloves of garlic each day and swallow them whole on an empty stomach each morning. If you take blood pressure medication, do not stop taking your medication without speaking to your doctor first.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

5. Helps Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Free radicals cause oxidative damage to the body on a cellular level, which contributes, in great part, to the aging process. Garlic contains potent antioxidants which support the body’s own protective mechanisms against oxidative damage. Regular doses of garlic supplements have been shown to increase the enzymes in humans that stimulate the antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress. By consuming garlic, you reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. The additional antioxidants can help to support healthy brain function and lower your risk of developing brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

 

6. Reduces Arthritis Pain

For those with rheumatoid arthritis, garlic has been shown to help reduce pain and stiff joints. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidants in garlic can reduce inflammation, the underlying problem behind arthritis pain. Garlic also contains a substance called diallyl disulfide, which limits enzymes that cause damage to the cartilage in the body. To help ease the pain of aching, inflamed joints, include more garlic in your daily diet. You can also take a garlic supplement after consulting with your doctor.

 

7. Improves the Immune System

Most people are not aware that garlic is a great source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and the minerals manganese and selenium. All of these important nutrients provide support for the immune system while improving the body’s ability to absorb certain minerals. Garlic also has antimicrobial and antioxidant power that strengthens your body’s natural immune system to fight infections and kill foreign invaders.

 

8. Super Nutrition but Low in Calories

Garlic is incredibly nutritious, but very low in calories. A one-ounce serving of garlic contains 1.8 grams of protein and 9 grams of carbs. It also has 1 gram of fiber, 23 percent of your RDA of manganese, 17 percent of your RDA for vitamin B6, and 15 percent of your RDA for vitamin C. It also has smaller amounts of copper, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin B1, and iron. In fact, garlic has a tiny bit of almost everything the body needs. All of this for a tiny 42 calories! It only makes sense to add garlic to your daily dishes, salads, and any way that you can get it!

 

9. Treats Colds and Coughs

Garlic has powerful antiviral and antibiotic compounds that make it the perfect way to naturally fight coughs and colds. It can also reduce the severity and duration of upper respiratory tract infections. Garlic has been used for centuries to help treat respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. This herb is a natural expectorant, making it an absolute necessity for those who suffer from chronic bronchitis. Eat soup with garlic in it and consume garlic supplements regularly to reduce the frequency of upper respiratory infections. This is also a great way to reduce cold and flu symptoms.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

10. Can Inhibit Cancer

Garlic contains allyl sulfur compounds, which have been shown in studies to slow the growth of cancerous cells. It can also help to prevent lung cancer and cancer of the digestive system, such as colon cancer and/or stomach cancer. If you have a history of cancer in your family, garlic should be an important part of your diet. In this instance, garlic supplements do not appear to be as effective as raw garlic when it comes to cancer protection.

 

11. Fantastic Fungal Fighter

This herb is a natural antifungal, which means that it helps to fight most common fungal infections such as jock itch, athlete’s foot, and ringworm. You can use garlic oil on affected skin areas or use a garlic paste on oral infections, such as oral thrush.

 

12. Improves Digestion

Garlic regulates the way the stomach digests food by stimulating the mucous membranes to produce more of the gastric juices that will improve digestion. This herb will protect the liver from damage as well because it stimulates the liver to produce more bile, which clears the body of toxins. Don’t overdo the garlic, however, as consuming too much, especially raw, will irritate the digestive tract and can cause serious heartburn.

 

13. Fights Allergies

With its anti-inflammatory and antiviral compounds, garlic can help your body naturally fight off a wide variety of allergies. Since it reduces inflammation in the airways, garlic can stop some of the worst symptoms of allergic rhinitis. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, consume a garlic supplement each day during the allergy season. You can also apply minced garlic to other allergic reactions, such as bug bites, rashes, and more.

 

14. Eases Toothache Pain

If you get a toothache and can’t get to the dentist right away, use some garlic instead. With its antibacterial and analgesic compounds, a little garlic oil or a small piece of crushed garlic on the affected tooth can provide almost instant relief. Garlic can be irritating to the gums, however, so try to use it on the affected tooth only.

 

15. Garlic Might Help You Live Longer

The effects on longevity are almost impossible to prove in human beings, but when you consider all the health benefits, such as lower blood pressure, high antioxidant levels, antiviral and antibacterial compounds, it only makes sense that eating more garlic can help you to increase your lifespan.

 

READ ALSO: Avoid These Mistakes When Using Garlic Medicinally

 

Garlic comes in several forms, including smooth pastes, whole cloves, oils, and powder. Garlic can give you bad breath, but it is well worth the trouble of brushing after meals!

Keep in mind that garlic can only release its active ingredient, allicin, when it is crushed or cut. If you cook it before you cut it or crush it, you won’t get nearly as many of the same healthy effects.

References:

www.cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov