As scientists look into the effects of diet on health, they’re finding that more and more everyday foods offer benefits that go well beyond making dishes tastier. Garlic, an ingredient found in almost every cuisine, has emerged as one such superfood.
Related: Healing Foods — Garlic
Eating garlic regularly is not only good for us; it has been linked to reducing heart disease, stroke, cancer, and infections. Garlic contains allicin, an organic sulfur compound that is thought to strengthen immunity, improve heart health, lessen inflammation, and even act as an antibacterial agent to banish bacterial illness and food poisoning.
- Protects the Heart: Garlic has been recognized as being instrumental in both treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death in the U.S. In fact, in a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, garlic has been shown to help reverse early heart disease by removing plaque buildup in patients’ arteries.
- Fights High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the biggest drivers of cardiovascular diseases. Human studies found that garlic supplements have a serious impact on reducing blood pressure in people with hypertension. In one study, 600 to 1,500 mg of aged garlic extract was just as effective as the drug Atenolol at reducing blood pressure over a 24-week period.
- Boosts the Immune System: Garlic is a good immunity booster. One study found that daily garlic supplementation reduced the number of colds by 63 percent and the duration of cold symptoms by 70 percent. Another study found that a high dose of aged garlic extract (2.56 grams per day) reduced the number of sick days taken for the cold or flu by 61 percent.
- Improves Athletic Performance: Garlic is the original performance-enhancing substance. It was given to Olympic athletes in ancient Greece, and in medieval times it was given to laborers to fight fatigue. One study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology Pharmacology suggested that garlic can enhance athletic performance by increasing VO2 Max, which is your body’s ability to consume oxygen.