“Garlic is known – correctly – for numerous health benefits”. Garlic or “Allium sativu” is a species in the onion family. Garlic has been used in many cultures and religions as a seasoning or condiment for thousands of years.
With its strong sulfuric odor, it may seem the least attractive ingredient.
But its extraordinary health benefits make it a valuable ingredient in various recipes. Garlic is known for numerous health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and also anti- inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-cancer effects.
Alireza Jahan-Mihan, assistant professor in the Nutrition and Dietetics Flagship Program at the University of North Florida, shares more about the health benefits of garlic.
Myth: Garlic has magic compounds that can prevent and cure some diseases:
Fact: The health benefits of garlic are mainly attributed to its sulfur-containing compounds such as allicin, alliin and ajoene. The pungent odor of garlic is mainly due to these components. In addition to sulfur-containing compounds, garlic is an excellent source of manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin C and is also a good source of selenium.
Myth: Garlic can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Fact: A great number of animal and clinical studies suggest possible cardiovascular benefits of garlic by reducing accumulation of cholesterol in the vessels. Moreover, garlic compounds can help to reduce blood pressure by vasodilative effect. Moreover, it lowers blood homocysteine levels, which are a risk factor for heart disease.
Myth: Garlic has beneficial effects for diabetics by improving blood glucose control.
Fact: The beneficial effect of garlic on regulation of blood glucose is also reported. When therapeutic amounts of aged garlic extracts are used routinely, it prevents some complications of diabetes mellitus.
Myth: Garlic fights against bacteria and viruses.
Fact: Garlic has bacteriostatic properties and can be used to treat infection, digestive disorders and fungal infections. Moreover, garlic is traditionally known for its role in prevention and fight against the common cold; however, the supporting evidence is poor and controversial.
Myth: Garlic is a good source of vitamin C and also can increase absorption of other vitamins.
Fact: Garlic is a good source of vitamin C, so, it’s effective to prevent scurvy. Garlic can also improve absorption of thiamin (vitamin B1) and decreases the risk of diseases related to thiamin deficiency including beriberi. Garlic is also suggested to improve iron metabolism. Diallyl sulfides in garlic can increase production of ferroportin, a protein in the blood that is regulates iron metabolism.
Myth: Garlic can help sexual functions in men.
Fact: Garlic supplementation boosted testosterone levels in rats fed a high-protein diet, but the results in humans aren’t conclusive.