Great garlic benefits

From treating colds, flu, acne and hair loss, to helping prevent high blood pressure and heart disease, garlic can work wonders!

Garlic is part of the onion family and the ‘bulb’ of consists of 10 to 20 smaller segments called ‘cloves’. Each little clove is not only packed with heavenly flavour, but they are also powerhouses of medicinal properties.

Although this little gem offers us such amazing health benefits, we often avoid garlic due to a fear of the resulting bad odour, or eat it anyway and end up reeking of garlic. Who wants that? Well, we’re pleased to tell you that you can enjoy your garlic, with no smelly odours or embarrassment. But first, let’s explore the powerful properties of fresh garlic.

1. Prevent cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, garlic’s protective effects are thanks to its antibacterial properties and an ability to block the formation and activation of cancer-causing substances. According to CancerActive, the sulphur compound, allicin, in garlic appears to bind to breast cell receptor sites, preventing the action of cancer agents. Allicin is also a strong defence against infection – specifically bacteria, viruses, yeasts and intestinal infections.

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The health benefits of garlic, cooked or raw, are only experienced when the clove has been crushed – this is when Allicin is released.

2. Get glowing skin 

Garlic defends your skin from free radicals and slows down collagen reduction and loss of skin elasticity. Applied to the skin, garlic does wonders for fungal infections and brings relief to eczema, ringworm and athlete’s foot.

Rubbing crushed garlic on your scalp or massaging with garlic-infused oil is known to prevent and even reverse hair loss. In addition, garlic’s high sulphur content contains keratin which cheers on hair growth and promotes hair strength.

Tired of facing unsightly spots every morning? Tackle the problem of bothersome bumps by purifying your blood from the inside out. Simply swallow two cloves of raw garlic with warm water first thing in the morning and flush your system with lots of fresh water all day. The next time you see a pimple forming, rub a slice of raw garlic over the area and stop the trouble before it starts.

3. Beat colds and flu

study published in the journal Advances In Therapy found that a daily garlic intake can reduce the number of colds by 63%. Plus, the average length of cold symptoms was reduced to 70% – from five days to one and half days in the garlic supplement group. Now that’s nothing to sneeze at!

Take two to three cloves of raw or cooked garlic a day, brew your own garlic tea with a splash of honey or ginger for taste or lavish your daily meals with it and relieve a stuffy nose, sinusitis, knock a cold on its head and fortify your immune system.

4. Reduce high blood pressure

Garlic’s active compounds can significantly reduce blood pressure, comparable to the effects of prescribed drugs. Between 600 to 1 500 mg of garlic extract is found to be just as effective as prescribed drugs for hypertension in a 24-week period, according to a study published in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

5. Prevent heart disease

Eating garlic daily, either raw or cooked in food, helps lower cholesterol – once again thanks to garlic’s antioxidant properties of allicin. A study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found the effect of garlic on total cholesterol in people with elevated levels, moderately reduced cholesterol.

6. Pump up your performance

Not only does garlic increase exercise capacity, it also helps reduce exercise-induced fatigue.

A study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that participants with heart disease who took garlic oil over a six weeks saw a reduction in peak heart rate by as much as 12%, in addition to an improvement in treadmill physical endurance.

7. Boost bone health

Fresh garlic is jam packed with nutrients including zinc, manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.  Risa Groux, a holistic nutritionist explains that garlic is high in manganese, which contains enzymes and antioxidants, and facilitates the formation of bones and connective tissues, bone metabolism and calcium absorption.

And here is some great news for the ladies – garlic may help reduce bone loss through increasing oestrogen. A study published in The Journal of Phytotherapy Research found garlic oil was able to preserve skeletal health, providing the nutrients for building blocks for healthy, strong bones.

Good garlic vs pungent pong

No one wants to be that ‘smelly person’ at work, let alone being left un-kissable due to garlic breath. Fortunately, Garlict odour-fighting capsules have just been launched in South Africa.

The capsules contain four superheroes fighting for fresh breath – parsley seed oil, green tea extract, chia seed oil and peppermint oil. Pop two capsules in your mouth after eating garlic, swallow with some liquid and repeat the dose after six hours if needed.

Garlict is available at Pick ‘n Pay Pharmacies nationwide and select independent pharmacies for the suggested retail price R98,95 incl VAT for 30 capsules.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.