Garlic Girls Rejoice - Here Are All The Ways Garlic Is Great For Your Health

Calling all garlic girls! Did you know that your love of garlic is actually super beneficial for your health? Garlic is often a food that can be used in nearly any dish. You can roast it, chop it, season with it, or even use it in a paste. In fact, the use of garlic dates back to about five thousand years ago when ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, the man now known as the father of medicine, would often prescribe garlic as a treatment for many illnesses (via Medical News Today). In ancient history, this medicinal use of garlic quickly made its way into the Middle East, East Asia, and Nepal where it has been used to treat bronchitis, high blood pressure, fevers, diabetes, and more.

Today, this popular food continues to do more than just add delicious flavor to your meals. Your love of garlic may just be doing you more good than you're even aware of.

The health benefits of garlic

Garlic was used in ancient history for good reason, and its health benefits have grown exponentially today. "Garlic gets its pungent smell from an organic sulfur compound called allicin," dietitian Laura Jeffers tells the Cleveland Clinic. "This compound also makes garlic a healthy addition to your diet." In addition to allicin, diallyl disulfide and s-allyl cysteine are other sulfur compounds that enter through your digestive tract that offer strong benefits throughout your body.

Garlic is perhaps most commonly known for its immunity-boosting benefits. For instance, it's an excellent food to help fight against the common cold or flu. According to a clinical trial published in Clinical Nutrition, the use of a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% and the length of a cold by 70% for those involved. Additionally, garlic could help improve your heart health. Healthline notes that 600 to 1,500 mg of aged garlic extract were found to be as effective as Atenolol, a drug used to treat blood pressure. Equating to about four cloves of garlic a day, this amount helps address blood pressure as well as lowering the risk of heart disease.

However, the health benefits don't stop there. Garlic can also help prevent Alzheimer's disease and dementia through its powerful antioxidants. It helps with skin health, athletic performance, longer life spans, and bone health, among so many other benefits such as lowering the risk of lung or brain cancers (via Healthline). This healthy food is also commonly used when cooking a variety of meals. A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology shows that cooking with garlic can even provide antibacterial properties that may prevent "bacteria-caused food poisoning."

How to consume garlic for the best benefits

To get the most out of garlic's health benefits, you have to be strategic about how you cook it, or you can consume it raw. Heating it may change its pH balance. After chopping or mincing it, you may need to give it a little time for the allicin compound to activate. "You'll get the most benefit from raw garlic," dietitian Laura Jeffers tells the Cleveland Clinic. "But if you choose to cook it, don't heat it above 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). Higher temperatures kill the allicin, so add garlic to your recipes when you're almost done cooking."

Before you consider taking garlic supplements, always consult with your doctor first. Most benefits may come from raw or cooked garlic rather than a supplement, but it is important to speak with a medical professional about how your health may be affected by garlic, whether you consume it cooked, raw, or through a supplement.