The Power of Garlic
The Power of Garlic was often promoted by Hippocrates- the father of modern medicine. He knew we were on to a good thing when it comes to garlic, often prescribing it to his patients for its restorative power and life-extending potential.
Nutritionists like me spend a lot of time telling people that ‘there’s no such thing as a magic bullet’ when it comes to foods, but there are definitely some ingredients that are more powerful than others – and garlic is definitely one of them.
Here is some science for you:
Garlic is packed full of anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, meaning it is incredible at warding off infection.
It contains high levels of vitamin C, known for its immunity-boosting and disease-fighting properties.
A study, found that eating about two teaspoons or more of garlic a day could significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
In addition, Garlic has a high potassium content that can help the body absorb essential nutrients, aiding your digestive system to work efficiently! Its high anti-inflammatory compounds can help our muscular, skeletal and respiratory systems.
Garlic is also known to help your body to detox naturally. It contains several sulfur compounds that activate the liver enzymes responsible for expelling toxins from the body. It also has allicin and selenium. Two important nutrients that play an important role in protecting the liver from damage.
Another powerful action that garlic has is the potential to lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals. Many studies have been conducted to see if this is true. In Ried, K. study (2016), supplements of garlic were shown to lower the blood pressure of hypertensive individuals, decrease slight cholesterol concentrations and stimulate the immune system.
There is one caveat though. Some people may have a hard time digesting garlic if they suffer from something called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, or SIBO. If you notice that garlic, onions and other vegetables from the allium family (eg, leeks or spring onions) cause you to bloat or belch, it may be worth getting this checked out. Garlic is a high FODMAP food and may need to be restricted in FODMAP-sensitive people.
Top tip for cooking garlic:
Most of us will cook garlic straight after crushing or chopping, which doesn’t allow enough time for enzyme reactions that boost the healthy compounds in garlic. My tip for getting the most out of the garlic you use is to crush it at room temperature, and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Never cook at high heat – try eating it raw or lightly cooked for maximum health benefits (parsley is excellent for combatting garlic breath!).