(Natural News) Garlic has a distinctive pungent odor. This can be off-putting for some people, while others are drawn to garlic’s aroma, especially when it’s used to make savory dishes. But did you know that eating garlic raw offers certain health benefits?
The medicinal properties of garlic
Practitioners of folk medicine believe that chewing raw garlic helps release some active substances that can cure conditions such as:
- A cough
- Digestive problems
- Heart disease
- Various types of inflammation
Some of these benefits have been confirmed by scientific research, and data has proven that garlic contains a beneficial compound called allicin. When fresh garlic is chopped, it releases the enzyme alliinase, which then results in the formation of allicin.
Allicin breaks down to form healthy organosulfur compounds. It also possesses anti-fungal, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties, and chewing raw garlic regularly can help fight off harmful organisms that can cause various diseases.
However, once garlic is cooked, heat may inactivate alliinase. Experts suggest crushing garlic and letting it stand for at least 10 minutes before cooking to let the alliinase work before heat inactivates it.
Research has also determined that garlic contains amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that can boost your overall well-being. Data from a study, which was published in the journal Advances in Therapy, showed that consuming garlic regularly can help strengthen your immune system. (Related: Garlic is a safe, delicious, and inexpensive way to improve your health.)
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As a preventive measure, chew two cloves of garlic daily. This can also help boost your cardiovascular health. If you already have a cold and you want to avoid the negative side effects of prescription drugs, chew more than two garlic cloves daily until you feel better.
Why is garlic good for you?
Aside from strengthening your immune system, garlic also has other health benefits.
- It can help lower your blood pressure. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), people with chronically high blood pressure (hypertension) can benefit from taking garlic supplements. The allicin in garlic can help relax the smooth muscles in the blood vessels. This dilates the blood vessels, which can help lower your blood pressure.
- It can help lower your cholesterol. Garlic may slow the development of atherosclerosis, a condition wherein plaque that contains cholesterol builds up in the arteries. When your arteries harden and narrow, you are at greater risk of heart attack.
- It can lower your risk of developing cancer. Garlic can’t cure cancer, but the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that eating garlic can still help prevent certain kinds of cancer. Studies suggest that there is a connection between a diet full of garlic and lower risk of breast, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and stomach cancers.
Before you eat raw garlic or take garlic supplements, take note that it may cause some minor side effects such as:
- Bad breath
- Body odor
- An upset stomach
Consult a healthcare professional before you increase your garlic intake, especially since it can thin the blood. This can be risky for people with a bleeding disorder or those scheduled to undergo surgery.
If you’re interested in reaping the benefits of eating raw garlic but are also wary of having bad breath, eat it with an apple. You can also drink a mix of apple vinegar, honey, and water after you chew on some garlic cloves.
You can read more articles about the health benefits of eating garlic at FoodCures.news.