Anyone looking to increase their overall health and well-being should be aware of the health benefits of garlic. It does not take much of this powerful food to receive the health benefits that is contains. Known for its strong smell, people have been aware of the health benefits of garlic for centuries and everyone could strengthen their immune defences by incorporating this superfood into their diet.
The health benefits of garlic are notoriously known to include strong anti-bacterial and anti-viral benefits. The sulphuric compounds in garlic that provides for its strong smell also contributes to remove harmful bacteria and viruses from the body. Rich in anti-oxidant phytochemicals, garlic helps to destroy free radicals in the body that damage cell membranes. In fact, research is demonstrating that the compound diallyl sulphide found in garlic may be more effective at destroying bacteria in the body that cause food poisoning than anti-biotics. By increasing the presence of natural killer cells lymphocytes and macrophages in the body, garlic effectively fights infections. Through the presence of selenium, garlic also helps to promote immune system functions that assist in treating common colds and chest infections.
There are also many cardiovascular benefits included within the health benefits of garlic. The anti-oxidants in garlic helps to lower blood pressure and it is an overall excellent protector of the heart. Through garlic's ability to stop angiotensin II activity in the body, garlic helps to prevent blood vessel contraction and blood pressure increases. Garlic also helps to keep the heart healthy by lowering cholesterol as well as blood triglycerides. Although these health benefits of garlic are clearly desirable for our overall well-being, the most important cardiovascular benefits of garlic comes from its ability to protect blood cells and blood vessels from damaging oxidative stress and inflammation that can result in increasing the risk of atherosclerosis and heart attack. Inflammation and oxidative stress can also increase the risk of forming plagues that clog our blood vessels. The sulphur compounds that reduce the harmful bacteria and viruses in the body are also important in decreasing the chances of experiencing oxidative stress and inflammation. Finally, garlic can help to reduce the risk of platelet induced clots from forming inside blood vessels.
The health benefits of garlic importantly include cancer prevention and anti-cancerous properties. Although a higher intake of garlic has been found to be more successful in this regard than smaller intakes, garlic has been found in research to be an overall effective general anti-cancer food. Individuals looking to take full advantage of garlic’s anti-cancer benefits should certainly increase the amount of garlic in their diet, as it has been found to have real benefits in this area in relation to practically all forms of cancer, with breast and prostate cancer being an exception. These anti-cancer properties are an important part of the health benefits of garlic.
Garlic should also be consumed as an excellent source of vitamin B6, vitamin C and calcium. Those looking to increase the amount of these vitamins and minerals and maximize the health benefits of garlic that they receive should look to try to incorporate garlic into their diet, either raw or thinly chopped.