Centuries ago, ancient civilizations including the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese started using garlic for its potent health and medicinal benefits. It’s just a bonus that it smells and tastes so delicious! (Garlic soup, anyone?)
So, what’s responsible for the health benefits of garlic? Most of them come from a sulfuric compound that gets released when garlic is crushed, chopped, or chewed and is absorbed through the digestive tract. It’s called allicin.
Although health claims about garlic were largely anecdotal in earlier years, scientists have conducted numerous in vivo (i.e., human) studies that prove many of those benefits!
What Are the Health Benefits of Garlic?
At an average of 10-20 cloves per garlic bulb, this plant can go a long way to improve your health and wellbeing. Below, you’ll find 6 powerful ways how.
1) Garlic Can Combat Sickness
A 12-week study published in Advances in Therapy found that, in comparison to placebo, daily consumption of a garlic supplement reduced participants’ number of colds by 62 percent. Researchers also highlighted that – in the garlic group – cold symptoms only lasted a day and a half versus five “placebo” days.
2) Garlic Helps Reduce Blood Pressure
Numerous studies on humans have revealed the enormous benefit garlic consumption can have on lower blood pressure. In some cases, garlic supplements worked just as effectively as the synthetic blood pressure drug Atenolol.
3) Garlic Improves Cholesterol Levels
If you suffer from high cholesterol and don’t want to rely on synthetic medications, consuming more garlic is more than a viable option. In fact, studies published in the Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London, Annals of Internal Medicine and Nutrition Reviews, supplementing garlic actually reduced LDL (or ‘bad’) cholesterol up to 15 percent.
4) Garlic May Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Each clove of garlic is packed full of potent antioxidants that can help prevent free radicals and oxidative damage linked to developing neurodegenerative diseases. In order to keep your body topped up with antioxidants and your immune system strong, scientists suggest consuming more garlic.
5) Garlic Helps Detoxify Heavy Metals
In 2012, a four-week study published in Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicologyanalyzed the effects of garlic on 117 people who worked at a car battery plant. At this specific workplace, employees were exposed to excessive levels of lead.
With three doses of garlic every single day, researchers found that the sulfur compounds (e.g., allicin) protected and reduced lead levels in the workers’ bloodstreams by almost 20 percent.
Further Health Benefits of Garlic
Some of these may include:
- Increased bone strength
- Improved athletic performance
- Nutrient-rich yet low in calories
Now that you know the incredibly powerful benefits of garlic, we’re going to leave you with a recipe by senior food editor at Bon Appétit, Chris Morocco.
The Single-Best Garlic Soup Broth Recipe for Colds and Comfort
“Sick days (real ones, at least) are unpredictable,” Morocco writes. “[So,] having a back-pocket broth that doesn’t require recipe planning should be part of your medicine cabinet.”
Garlic Soup Broth Ingredients
- 2 heads garlic
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
- 1 handful herbs (e.g., parsley, cilantro, and/or sage)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
Simple Steps for Garlic Soup
- With the first head of garlic, cut it in half horizontally and set aside
- With the second head of garlic, separate the cloves; peel and crush lightly
- In a large saucepan, heat (at medium) the 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- Once heated, add the lightly crushed garlic cloves; cook until soft and golden brown
- After 8-10 minutes, pour in 2 quarts water and increase the heat from medium to high; bring to a boil
- At this point, add your choice of herbs and the remaining head of garlic; reduce heat to a simmer
- In 30-40 minutes, the garlic should be very tender and the broth should be reduced by nearly half; season with salt and pepper to taste
- Once satisfied with the flavor, use a sieve to strain the garlic soup broth; drink immediately or store and save for later
On its own, garlic can be quite potent. That’s why we love recipes like this garlic soup broth from Chris Morocco. Well, we’re off to make some for ourselves. We hope you do too – here’s to your health!
You can also check out the garlic soup broth recipe below:
*Article originally appeared at Healthy Holistic Living.