1. Garlic’s antiviral properties
Research on garlic has shown that it’s great at killing all types of viruses, including influenza, rhinovirus, herpes simplex virus, viral pneumonia, and rotavirus. (1) That’s not to say eating garlic will prevent you from ever getting sick, but regularly consuming garlic can be a great way to boost your immune system against viruses.
2. Garlic can speed healing
Speaking of getting sick, if you do fall victim to the common cold or flu, garlic may be able to get you back on your feet quicker. In fact, a survey published in Advances in Therapy had 146 participants take either garlic supplements or a placebo for three months. The results showed that the group taking garlic were 63% less likely to develop a cold and when they did get sick, their illness time was about 70% shorter than the placebo group. (2) Pretty cool, right?
3. Garlic can fend off pain
You may not love the idea of rubbing garlic oil all over you, but research has shown that garlic oil is a potent anti-inflammatory. (3) In fact, the Arthritis Foundation even recommends rubbing garlic oil on inflamed joints and muscles to help prevent cartilage damage.
4. Garlic is great for skin issues
Garlic has potent antimicrobial properties, which means it can help with a number of skin health woes. For example, one study showed that putting garlic on a pimple can help kill acne-causing bacteria. (4) Another study showed that soaking your feet in garlic water or rubbing raw garlic on your feet can help fend off athlete’s foot, which is called by a fungus. (5)
5. Garlic is chock-full of antioxidants
Antioxidants fight free radicals, which create cellular damage in the body, and garlic contains a wide range of antioxidants. One study showed that the compounds allyl disulfide, alliin, allicin, and allyl cysteine all exhibit different patterns of antioxidant activities as protective compounds against free radical damage. (6)
6. Garlic can reduce blood pressure
Studies have shown that garlic supplements can reduce blood pressure and prevent oxidative DNA damage in hypertension. In fact, one study even showed that supplementing with 600–1,500 mg of aged garlic extract for 24 weeks was just as effective as the drug Atenolol at reducing blood pressure. (7)
7. Garlic is high in nutrients
Garlic may be small but it packs a serious punch when it comes to nutrients. Just one glove of garlic contains a decent amount of selenium, manganese, and vitamin C (8).
8. Garlic has anti-allergic properties
One study tested infections of garlic extract on allergic-airway inflammation and found that it significantly improved airway inflammation. (9) If you have seasonal allergies, you can also use garlic as a natural decongestant. All you need to do is inhale the smell of raw garlic or make a dish with garlic and make sure you take long, deep inhales!
9. Garlic can protect your from food poisoning
Compounds found in garlic can kill bacteria, like salmonella and E.coli that lead to food poisoning. So while you can’t use garlic as a substitute for food sanitation practices, incorporating garlic into your recipes can help protect you from germs that threaten to upset your stomach. (10)
10. Garlic can supercharge your workouts
Did you know that garlic was given to Olympic athletes in ancient Greece? It’s true! And more modern studies have shown that they were onto something. Garlic can improve athletic performance by reducing peak heart rate and promoting better exercise capacity. (11)
As you can see from the 10 benefits above, garlic is more than just a tasty spice. So when in doubt, add that extra clove to whatever you’re cooking! Or, if you don’t like the taste, keep some garlic supplements or oil on hand for whenever you might need them.
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