Garlic offers a wide variety of health benefits. The perks of this tasty vegetable are especially helpful during flu season.
Ancient medical texts from Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, and China detail the use of garlic to treat diseases and maintain health. Recent research supports the use of garlic and its health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, combating fatigue, and reducing the risk of heart disease. Some research suggests that substances in garlic can even protect against certain types of cancer.
Garlic provides an immune system boost that can help protect against colds and flu. Millions of Americans catch colds each year, and between 5 and 20 percent get the flu. Vaccines can significantly reduce the risk of the flu, but there is no vaccine against the common cold.
The results of a 12-week study showed that a garlic supplement every day reduced the number of colds by 63 percent. In another study, participants who took a garlic supplement were more likely to catch a cold than those who did not take garlic; those who used garlic also got over colds faster.
Garlic is nutritious. A single clove of garlic contains many nutrients that promote healing, boost the immune system, and prevent infection. These compounds include manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and selenium. Garlic also contains trace amounts of other nutrients.
Allicin is the predominant healthy compound in garlic. Allicin is also responsible for garlic’s odor. The compound protects garlic against pests – the garlic plant produces allicin when under attack. Allicin is toxic to insects and microorganisms. The compound inhibits viruses, bacteria, and yeasts. Garlic comes in many forms, including whole cloves, smooth pastes, and powders. Garlic supplements contain garlic extract and garlic oil. Freshly crushed garlic cloves contain detectable amounts of allicin. (Read: ”How to Improve Gut Health: Everything You Need to Know”)
Both raw and cooked garlic impart health benefits, but raw garlic may be better. Research shows that raw garlic has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that help protect against colds and flu, for example. Garlic releases beneficial sulfur compounds when the clove is crushed, chopped, or chewed. Some of these compounds may be lost during the cooking process.
Whether raw, sautéed, roasted, or dried, garlic has a pungent and unique flavor. This vegetable is easy to incorporate into a large number of recipes. Garlic goes with nearly every savory dish at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It adds flavor to soup, potatoes, and curry. You can even make a quick garlic dressing. Simply press cloves with a garlic press, then mix with olive oil and a dash of salt or spice.
Remember: It’s important to get the flu vaccine every year. The Carbon Health Vaccine Finder can help you locate a vaccination site near you.) It’s not too late! Book your appointment at Carbon Health today.