fun fact: Garlic is believed to ward off heart disease, cancer, colds, and flu. The consumption of garlic lowers blood cholesterol levels. and reduces the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Garlic, like a coin, has two faces. The other half is culinary, while the other is medicinal. In culinary, garlic is used as a spice or seasoning in a wide array of recipes. Its powerful taste and rich aroma makes it a popular ingredient in cooking. As a medicinal herb, garlic is treated as a remedy for infections or illnesses like cold and cough. Among those who use garlic for health and medicinal purposes are the Indian, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans.
The interesting stories we hear about garlic, scientifically called as Allium sativum, suffice the need to learn about its nutrition facts.
While we do not consume garlic as much as other fruits and vegetables, for information purposes, it contains 149 calories for every 100 grams, but no cholesterol. It has 33.06g or 25% of the daily-recommended intake of carbohydrates, 6.36g or 11% DRI of protein, and 0.5g or 2% DRI of fat. All these provide the body with the necessary energy for organs and muscles to function properly.
Garlic is an excellent source of vitamin C with 52% DRI. It plays a vital role as a natural antioxidant, in collagen synthesis and immune system. As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects the cells from being damaged. It likewise assists in collagen synthesis to keep the body together. Moreover, as vitamin C protects the immune system, it prevents foreign agents get in the body resulting to illnesses.
This herb is also abundant in vitamin B complex. They generally help burn macronutrients like fat and carbohydrates so the body can use them as energy. Among the B-vitamins, vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine has the highest content in garlic with 95% of its DRI. Pyridoxine is vital in the production of red blood cells as well as in making neurotransmitters that allow cells to communicate. Other components of vitamin B complex contained in garlic are Pantothenic acid, Niacin, Riboflavin, Thiamine, and Folates.
Looking into the nutrition facts, you will easily notice that garlic is high in sodium and potassium. It has 53mg or 10% DRI of sodium and 401mg or 8.5% DRI of potassium. Small quantity of sodium is needed by the body to normalize blood pressure, nerves, and muscles. Potassium, meanwhile, is necessary for fluid balance. The quantity of potassium is relevant as it offsets the excess sodium in the body.
Garlic is also a powerhouse of minerals like magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, phosphorus, selenium, copper, and manganese.
The Important Health Benefits of Garlic
Contains Strong Anti-Bacterial Properties
Consumption of garlic can help in preventing diseases caused by bacterial and viral infections. It has been proven that garlic has healing effects on infection in the chest as well as congestion, cough, cold, flu, etc. This is because garlic is concentrated with high levels of Vitamin C that is a very strong antioxidant that battles common sicknesses. Garlic helps in avoiding bacterial, worm, yeast, and viral infections. This also helps in treating food poisoning, skin infections, and others more through directly killing the bacteria causing the trouble. In treating skin infections, you can apply garlic extract directly to the affected area everyday and you will surely experience positive results just after a few applications.
Regulates Cholesterol Levels
Ingesting garlic has shown cholesterol reduction effects. Excessive cholesterol levels in the body triggers various ailments especially in the heart. It is important that cholesterol is regulated in order to have a healthy heart. Because garlic has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, it is able to decrease LDL cholesterol at the same time increase the HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is the bad type of cholesterol causing stress oxidation that triggers heart failure. It is important that the HDL cholesterol outnumber the LDL cholesterol for a healthy heart.
Thwarts off Cardiovascular Diseases
Cardiovascular diseases are encouraged by high LDL cholesterol levels and formation of aortic plaque in the veins. As mentioned above, garlic has cholesterol reduction effects. In addition to that, garlic ingestion also suppresses the formation of aortic plaque in the walls of the veins as well strengthen the blood vessel lining from damaging oxygen molecules. This will lessen chances of blood clots and atherosclerosis that can lead to heart attack. Because of garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties its consumption will keep blood vessels protected from oxidative stress. Garlic contains a very unique compound called Ajoene which is a remarkable anti-clotting property. This will keep our platelet from becoming sticky thus avoiding clumping that can lead to blood clots.
Lowers Blood Pressure
The ability of garlic ingestion in lowering blood pressure also supports the fact that it promotes optimal heart health. Garlic ingestion is very impressive when it comes to stabilizing blood pressure. This is because of high amounts of allicin content of garlics. Allicin discourages the angionestin activity that causes contraction in the blood vessels that causes the blood pressure to go up. In addition, garlic is also rich in sulfur that is essential in the red blood cells to avoid blood vessel dilation. The emptier the space in our blood vessels, the more chances to experience high blood pressure.
Inflammation is also a primary cause of multiple diseases in any of our body’s systems. Since garlic is an excellent source of strong anti-inflammatory compounds, it is able to thwart off multiple types of illnesses. Specifically, garlic ingestion significantly benefits the respiratory and musculoskeletal system. Respiratory airway inflammation as well as arthritic risks can be reduced through regular consumption of garlic.
Because of garlic’s abundance in sulfur, it is able to deduce inflammation that can lead to obesity. Fat cells of the body are positively affected by inflammation. Sulfur compounds prevent the development of preadipocytes to adipocytes. Adipocytes are body’s fat cells that when excessively accumulated can cause excessive body fat storage. Regular garlic consumption can lessen the transformation of preadipocytes to adipocytes.
Reduce Risks of Cancer
Garlic belongs to allium family of vegetables that are known to have significantly high levels of anti-cancer properties. Daily intake of garlic reduces risks of various types of cancer aside from breast and prostate cancer. Garlic is rich in allyl sulfides that are strong anti-cancer compounds. These compounds assure that the cells are healthy and protected from possible damages. Through activation of a molecule called erythroid factor, the metabolic rate of cell’s nucleus is boosted. This way, cells will function accordingly and will remain in a healthy manner. Cells will also be able protect itself from damage and put it in the condition which it can maintain and repair themselves. Through activation of erythroid factor, formation of cancerous cells is prevented.
Boosts Iron Metabolism
Iron is an essential mineral playing vital role in the entirety of the body. Iron deficiency slowly kills the body’s defense mechanism and drags down its metabolic rates. Garlic has Diallyl Sulphides that stimulates Ferroportin production. Ferroportin is the protein that regulates the release and absorption of iron. Ingesting garlic effectively avoids iron deficiency and its related diseases such as anemia.