Garlic can make the vampires run away. But I think it’s a metaphor; a tale started to make us eat this pungent but very healthy herb because garlic can actually ward off various health problems, including cancer. And unlike the vampire stories, health benefits of garlic have scientific evidence.
The best part is roasted, toasted, crushed, chopped, minced, halved, or whole garlic in food can make the taste literally go from flat to fab! So, read on to know some cool facts and benefits of garlic for health, hair, and skin.
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Garlic is a bulbous herb vegetable. Its scientific name is Allium sativum and is most commonly known as (lasun/lahsun) in Hindi, ‘Vellulli’ in Telugu, ‘Poondu’ in Tamil, ‘Veluthulli’ in Malayalam, ‘Bellulli’ in Kannada, ‘Rasoon’ in Bengali, ‘Lasan’ in Gujarati, ‘Lasun’ in Marathi and ‘Lassan’ in Punjabi. It is basically the edible bulb part of the lily plant and belongs to the Allium family (1).
Some of the other veggies that belong to Allium family are onion, leek, chives, shallots, and scallions. The average height and diameter of a garlic bulb is about 2 inches and contains numerous cloves, and both the cloves and bulb are enclosed in a paper-like sheath, which has white, off-white, purple or pink hue. The cloves of garlic are firm and are covered in a thicker paper-like sheath of the same color as the outer sheath. To use garlic, you need to detach the cloves from the bulb and peel them. Garlic tastes pungent and has a strong spicy smell. The pungent taste of garlic mellows down when cooked and adds a nutty flavor to the food.
There are different types of garlic such as softneck garlic, silverskin garlic, artichoke garlic, and hardneck garlic. Softneck garlic is the most common type of garlic that you see in the market and has a soft stalk, papery skin and creamy white in color. The outermost cloves of this garlic are larger in size as compared to those closer to the center. Silver garlic has a pink hue on its outer sheath and has a strong aroma. Artichoke garlic has a milder flavor and has larger but fewer cloves. Sometimes the artichoke garlic has a purple tint on its papery skin. However, it is the hardneck garlic that is known for its purple outer sheath. It has a hard, woody stalk and there are three types of hardneck garlic – rocambole garlic, porcelain garlic, and purple stripe garlic (2).
Garlic mostly requires lower temperatures to grow, but there are reports where garlic was found to have grown in warmer tropical regions. In fact, garlic grows best in temperate regions and doesn’t thrive in too hot or too cold regions. In India, Gujarat is the leading producer of garlic followed by Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. Garlic requires well drained loamy soil and is planted from August to November and is harvested within 4 to 5 months. The garlic bulbs are then dried to increase their shelf life (3).
Garlic is one of the oldest crops. Garlic is mentioned in Indian and Egyptian cultures about 5000 years ago, in Babylonian culture about 4500 years ago, and in Chinese culture about 4000 years ago. The crop originated in Central Asia and is referred to as “center of origin” and a wide range of garlic varieties can be found here. In the early days, there were no specific types of garlic. In fact, after garlic was cultivated in southern Europe in the last 1000 years the softneck and hardneck garlic varieties started to get noticed. Garlic is believed to have become popular as humans migrated to various parts of the world. Today, each year about 10 million metric tons of garlic is produced worldwide, China being the leading producer of garlic with 66% garlic production (4),(5).
So, how good is garlic for you? Garlic is rich in compounds like Allicin, Sulphur, Zinc, and Calcium that have health benefits, beauty benefits as well as antibiotic and antifungal properties. It is also a rich source of a mineral known as selenium. Selenium is known to fight cancer and it works with vitamin E in the body to boost antioxidant power. Garlic also acts as a blood thinner due to its salicylate content. This enables proper blood flow and enhances circulatory health.
Nowadays, garlic’s reputation as a medicinal herb is significantly growing. This is because it has been confirmed by many researchers to be highly effective in preventing and treating a wide range of health conditions (6). In fact, for decades, garlic has been recommended by natural medicine practitioners all over the world to be included in the daily diet because of its many powerful effects on health. Now, before I tell you the various benefits of garlic, let’s take a look at the nutrition facts of the herb below.
Garlic contains numerous vital nutrients – flavonoids, oligosaccharides, alliin and allicin and also high levels of sulfur. Know here in detail, what is the nutritional value of garlic (7)
|Total Fat||0.5 g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber||2.1 g||5.5%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.596 mg||12%|
|Vitamin A||9 IU||1%|
|Vitamin C||31.2 mg||52%|
|Vitamin E||0.08 mg||0.5%|
|Vitamin K||1.7 µg||1.5%|
|Calcium||181 mg||18 %|
This was about garlic nutritional benefits. Now, let’s find out how many ways garlic can be beneficial for your health, skin, and hair.
Garlic health benefits are plentiful which include reversing heart disease, improving the health of diabetics and also preventing and fighting various forms of cancer. Here are some of the most profound garlic benefits that are supported by studies.
Mature garlic extract contains a bioactive sulfur compound, S-allylcysteine, which has been found to effectively lower blood pressure by 10 mmHg (systolic pressure) and 8 mmHg (diastolic pressure). Sulfur deficiency is one of the reasons for high blood pressure and therefore supplementing the body with organosulfur compounds can help stabilize blood pressure (7). Heat treatment tends to destroy allicin.
Consume raw or dried garlic to be able to consume allicin in garlic.
American scientists found that aged garlic extract supplement can help lower LDL cholesterol by 10% in hypercholesterolemic male human participants. In rats, garlic inhibited the synthesis of cholesterol in liver cells. The researchers further experimented with water soluble and lipid soluble compounds of garlic and found that water soluble compounds in garlic inhibited cholesterol synthesis by 20-60% (8).
You can eat 1-2 raw cloves of garlic per day to reduce LDL cholesterol.
Scientists have evidence that garlic can help prevent almost all cardiovascular diseases. It helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases by lowering bad cholesterol, lipid, and serum triglyceride increase antioxidant activities, and decrease platelet aggregation. Garlic was also found to be effective against atherosclerosis (9),(10).
Have a clove of raw garlic in the morning before your morning walk or morning run to keep cardiovascular diseases miles away.
Age and unhealthy lifestyle can make your bones weak, which means that fractures and osteoporosis will set in much earlier. Garlic has been found to be effective against osteoporosis and arthritis. In a study, scientists supplemented lab rats with garlic oil and found that garlic oil was able to suppress ovariectomy-induced bone resorption (11). Another group of researchers concluded that the diallyl disulfide helps to suppress the matrix degrading enzymes and therefore prevents damage to the bones (12).
Consume 2-3 raw garlic cloves per day to improve bone health.
[ Read: Foods To Eat For Healthy Bones ]
An upset stomach or a broken digestive system can hamper your daily life. So, if you are suffering from intestinal problems, you might want to consume garlic. Garlic tends to differentiate between the good and bad gut bacteria in the intestine and has an antibacterial effect on harmful enterobacteria (13). Scientists have also found that garlic is effective against H. pylori infections (14).
Consume 1 raw garlic before breakfast with a glass of room temperature or cold water.
High blood sugar can make you prone to developing diabetes, blood pressure, obesity etc. If you are suffering from high blood sugar, you must include garlic in your diet. Scientists from Kuwait conducted an experiment with raw and boiled garlic and found that raw garlic significantly reduced blood glucose levels in lab animal models (15). Therefore, consume raw garlic instead of the cooked bulb to help lower the blood sugar levels.
Consume 3-4 cloves of raw garlic to lower your blood sugar levels.
Clotting of blood to prevent excess blood loss is good but not when the blood clots detach and are carried by the bloodstream to other vital organs such as brain, lungs, kidney etc. Indian scientists experimented with garlic. The participants were asked to consume 10 mg raw garlic every day before breakfast for two months. The study concluded that garlic could be used to prevent thromboembolism (16).
Consume 3 garlic cloves before breakfast every alternate day.
Garlic contains diallylsulfide that helps inhibit oxidative stress, selenium present in garlic is known to have cancer-fighting properties, prevents DNA mutation and uncontrolled cell proliferation, and metastasis (17). A clinical trial conducted by Chinese scientists on cancer patients found that garlic lowered the chances of tumor formation by 33% and reduced stomach cancer by 52% (18). So, if you want to lower the risk of cancer, consume garlic along with leading a healthy lifestyle.
Consume at least 1 raw clove of garlic every day in the morning.
Garlic contains phytonutrients that are antioxidant in nature. Antioxidants flush out toxins and reduce oxidative stress in the body, which prevents you from falling sick or being prone to DNA mutations and disrupted cell functions. Researchers have also found that supplementing with garlic helped increase different types of immune cells in the body (19).
Consume 1-2 raw garlic cloves per day to boost your immunity.
As I mentioned earlier, garlic can help relieve oxidative stress. The water soluble organosulfur compounds found in garlic can help prevent DNA damage, reduce inflammation and atherosclerosis risk due to oxidative stress. In fact, garlic can also help prevent heart diseases by nullifying harmful free oxygen radicals (20),(21), (22).
Consume 1 clove of raw garlic every day to flush out the harmful free oxygen radicals.
Heavy metals can kill you. And therefore it is best that you get rid of any traces of heavy metal from your body. A study conducted on lab rats showed that orally administering garlic helped reduce the levels of heavy metal (23). Another study confirmed that pickled garlic was more effective in lowering cadmium levels (24).
Consume pickled garlic to reduce or prevent heavy metal poisoning.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, mainly caused by unhealthy lifestyle. Scientists at IICT, India fed garlic to lab rats and found a reduction in blood glucose and triglyceride levels and also the rats showed increased insulin sensitivity (25). So, if you are prediabetic or a diabetic, consume garlic to lower glucose levels in the blood and make your body insulin sensitive.
Consume 2-3 cloves of raw garlic to prevent the risk or fight diabetes.
Yeast infections can be both embarrassing and distressing. Garlic is a natural remedy for yeast infections. Scientists have found that fresh garlic extract is highly effective against Candida infections (26). In another study, the researchers found that garlic was effective against candida vaginitis (27).
Consume 2-3 cloves of raw garlic every day. Do not apply raw garlic on the infected area.
Cranberry is the go-to fruit for treating or preventing UTI, but garlic is no less. Scientists have found that garlic can help treat or prevent the growth of P. aeruginosa, a pathogen that colonizes the urinary tract walls and is responsible for recurring UTIs and kidney infections (28). Garlic is also effective against E.coli growth in the urinary tract (29).
Consume 3-4 cloves of garlic to prevent and fight UTI and kidney infections.
Garlic has been used for ages to treat common cold and asthma. A special mustard garlic oil is massaged near the nose and on throat and lungs area to help treat chest congestion. Now, scientists also have found evidence that garlic can delay the hypersensitivity associated with asthma and also help treat common cold (30),(31).
Heat mustard oil with garlic and massage your body with this oil for treating cold. You can also consume 2-3 cloves of raw garlic to treat cold and asthma. Make sure you talk to your doctor first.
Cold sores or blisters are caused by herpes simplex virus. These are generally painful blisters that erupt in and around lips, chin, and nose. The worst news – this is contagious. Garlic contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties and therefore may help treat these blisters. However, there is no solid scientific evidence to back this belief.
Consume 1-2 cloves of raw garlic to treat cold sores.
[ Read: How To Get Rid Of A Cold Sore Overnight ]
Garlic is said to protect from neurodegenerative disease, dementia. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia and garlic is also effective against Alzheimer’s disease. A bioactive compound S-allyl-cysteine, found in garlic is neuroprotective in nature. Moreover, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of garlic also help prevent neurological deterioration (32),(33).
Consume 3-4 garlic cloves per day to help prevent the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
If you want to lose weight, you must consume garlic. Because garlic actually gets to the root of the weight gain problem. It helps to inhibit the expression of adipogenic tissues, increases thermogenesis, and reduces bad cholesterol (34) (35).
Consume 3-4 raw garlic cloves for weight loss.
It is impossible to believe, but garlic has also been found to help improve eye health. Scientists have found that garlic reduces intraocular pressure (36). The antimicrobial property of garlic is also effective against the microbes causing eyesight threatening keratitis (37). Scientists have also found that garlic juice can help prevent lead-induced apoptosis of the retinal cells in rats (38).
Consume 3-4 cloves of raw garlic after breakfast to protect your eyes.
Garlic has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and therefore may be effective against ear infections. However, there is no scientific evidence to establish this yet.
Consume 2-3 cloves of raw garlic to reduce inflammation and microbial infection. However, consult your doctor before you start taking garlic to reduce ear infection.
[ Read: Home Remedies For Ear Infections ]
Allicin present in garlic has antimicrobial properties and helps kill oral pathogens that are associated with dental caries and periodontitis (39). Scientists have also experimented with garlic extract as mouthwash and have found it to be an effective one (40). In fact, using toothpaste or mouthwashes containing garlic extract can help prevent dental caries (41).
Chew one raw garlic clove every day if you are suffering from a toothache or dental caries.
Both iron and zinc are important for proper functioning of various biological processes. Garlic contains sulfur that positively influences the bioavailability of both iron and zinc (42). Therefore, if you are iron or zinc deficient, you must include garlic in your diet.
Consume 1-2 raw garlic cloves to increase iron and zinc absorption and bioavailability.
An excessive amount of fat deposition in the liver can be fatal. Garlic had been found to be effective against non-alcoholic fatty liver. Scientists found that S-allylmercaptocysteine (SAMC) helped ameliorate hepatic injury and garlic oil’s antioxidative properties also helped protect against non-alcoholic fatty liver (43),(44).
Add raw chopped 1-2 garlic cloves to spinach smoothie to help prevent fatty liver.
It is clear from all the above garlic benefits that consuming garlic can help improve your health by protecting your vital organs and cell functions. This way, garlic can help increase longevity (45).
Consume 2 garlic cloves per day for long and healthy life.
The garlic benefits for skin are explained in greater detail below. Know how to apply garlic on face and skin for good results.
Garlic is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Since acne is caused due to over accumulation of toxins, clogged pores, and bacterial infections – garlic can be used to reduce acne (46).
You can eat 1 clove of raw garlic followed by a glass of cold water. Also, make sure you keep yourself hydrated and clean your skin every 3 hours.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease, and the symptoms are red, scaly, and itchy skin that affect the scalp, elbows, and knees. It is not curable but consuming garlic can help reduce the disease symptoms. Psoriasis is caused due to inflammation, and since garlic is a strong anti-inflammatory agent, many recommend the use of garlic to reduce psoriasis. However, there is no direct scientific evidence to prove this.
Consume 3 cloves of raw garlic with leek, broccoli, and beetroot juice.
Skin aging occurs due to stress, unhealthy habits, stress, inflammation, genes etc. S-allyl cysteine, found in garlic helps protect the skin from UV damage and wrinkling. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds present in garlic help scavenge the oxygen radicals thereby reducing stress. Moreover, scientists have also found that garlic induces synthesis of normal human skin cells in the lab (47),(48).
Consume one clove of raw garlic with honey and lemon the first thing in the morning. You can also add raw chopped garlic to Triphala water and drink it in the morning.
[ Read: Homemade Tips For Anti-Aging ]
The moment you hear about stretch marks, all you wish is for them to vanish! Well, they are stubborn, and our skin is elastic. To reduce stretch marks can take a long time if you don’t put in extra effort to get rid of them. Hot oil massage with garlic may help reduce stretch marks, and you must try it with olive oil or mustard oil.
Heat mustard oil and add 2-3 cloves of garlic. When you start to smell the garlic, remove from flame and let it cool down a bit. You can use it when it’s still warm. Massage in circular motion.
Dry, itchy, flaky, rough, and inflamed skin is known as eczema. It is caused due to inflammation triggered by an allergic reaction. Garlic has anti-inflammatory properties and thus believed to be effective against eczema. But there is no solid scientific backing this theory. So, talk to your doctor before consuming garlic to reduce symptoms of eczema.
Consume 1-2 raw garlic cloves with room temperature water.
Athlete’s foot is caused due to a fungal or yeast infection, also known as tinea pedis (ringworm of the foot). Garlic is an antifungal agent and can be used to treat ringworm of the foot.
Consume 2 garlic cloves with leek juice in the morning.
Ever thought of what are the uses of garlic for hair. But hey, even consuming raw garlic can have benefits for your hair – they can improve hair health and appearance.
Hair loss is a serious problem these days. Pollution, impure water, bad eating habits, stress etc. all add up to rapid hair loss. Scientists have found that garlic gel, along with betamethasone valerate can help prevent hair loss (49).
Consume 1 raw garlic clove with a spinach smoothie. Also, add lots of garlic in cooked fish to prevent hair loss.
So, those were the 31 garlic benefits for health, hair, and skin. Now, let me tell you how you can incorporate garlic into your daily diet.
The best way to use garlic to get rid of all health, skin, and hair problems is to eat it raw. Cooking it – boiling, frying, roasting etc. destroys it healing properties. So, start by taking a small piece of raw garlic and gulping it down with a glass of water in the morning. Then start consuming half a garlic and finally, chew a whole clove of raw garlic and wash it down with water. But you can also use it in other cooked food recipes. Here are a few garlic recipes for you.
If you want to reap the healing power of this wonder herb, try adding it to some of your favorite recipes. Here are a few delicious recipes using garlic to try so you can enjoy all of their health-promoting benefits of garlic everyday.
Yummy, aren’t they? So, go ahead and prepare the best food with garlic and enjoy good health as well. But the next big question is how to select and store garlic? Read on to find out.
To choose the best garlic, always hold the garlic in your hand to feel if it is damp and soft. Reject it immediately. Select the ones that are plump, firm, and light. If you like garlic and use it on a regular basis, choose garlic that has larger clove as peeling so many cloves can be very tiring. A trick to peel garlic quickly is to dry it in the sun for a day and then transferring it into a steel bowl, cover it with a plate and shake it vigorously. This will magically peel off all the garlic in just a minute.
To store garlic, keep it at room temperature or sun dry it before storing it at room temperature. Store garlic in places where there is good air circulation, dry and dark. You can also store garlic in a zip lock bag. Finally, you can store peeled garlic in oil or vinegar. So, where can you buy garlic?
The best place to find fresh and unadulterated garlic is the local farmer’s market. You can also buy garlic in supermarkets and online stores too.
It is clear that garlic has many benefits but can it cause any harm if taken in excess quantities or when people with certain conditions take it? Let’s find out in the next section.
Garlic benefits and uses are well known. But, the side effects of eating raw garlic can’t be overlooked. Check out what are they.
Consuming raw garlic can make you stink as it has a strong and pungent odor.
Consuming too many raw garlic cloves can make you feel dizzy, cause heartburn, and in some cases make you vomit.
Too much garlic can irritate the stomach lining and cause gastritis issues.
Consuming too many garlic cloves can lead to heating up of your body, which can cause too much sweating.
Garlic can trigger a migraine. So, if you suffer from a migraine, avoid consuming excessive raw garlic.
If you consume garlic in excess, it can affect your eyesight. Hyphema or bleeding inside the eye is found in those who consume too much garlic.
Yes, garlic helps prevent hypertension but when you consume it in excess, it can cause low blood pressure.
Too much garlic can cause allergic reactions leading to skin rashes, reddening of the skin, and flaky and itchy skin.
Garlic in mild doses can help prevent vaginal infections but in larger doses can aggravate the vaginal infection.
Excess garlic can be toxic and to remove the toxins the liver has to work extra. This may finally damage your liver.
So, those were the benefits and facts about garlic. Always consult a doctor before adding garlic to your diet for a certain condition. Avoid overdosing yourself with garlic. Having said that, garlic in limited quantities can help you treat most of the health problems and must be consumed daily for best results. Take care!
Is there any benefit to removing the core of a garlic clove?
No, you must eat the whole clove of garlic.
How to reduce garlic odor?
Chew parsley or mint right after consuming raw garlic to get rid of garlic’s pungent odor.
What is the best time to eat raw garlic?
Eat it in the morning after drinking your detox drink.
Does eating garlic prevent flea bites?
Garlic can help repel the mosquitoes and so, you may consume it to prevent getting bitten by fleas.
How many cloves of garlic should a person eat per day?
You can consume 1-4 raw garlic cloves per day.
Can you eat garlic skin?
No. Unless you want to feel how it feels like to be a grass-eating animal! You get enough antioxidants from the clove, why would you want to eat the tasteless and papery skin?
What are the benefits of eating raw garlic in morning?
Eating raw garlic in the morning can help reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, obesity, premature aging, hypertension, high blood glucose levels hair fall, and can help you avoid skin problems.
Is it good to eat garlic and honey in the morning?
Garlic and honey are both rich in antioxidants and have antimicrobial properties. So, consuming them in moderation will help you ward off various bacterial, fungal, and viral infections, help prevent throat infections, aid weight loss etc.
Is garlic a herb or a spice?
Garlic is a herb vegetable.
Is it okay to have milk with garlic?
Yes, you can have milk with garlic.
Is it safe to use garlic mask for acne?
No. Do not use garlic directly on your acne as it may irritate your skin and aggravate the acne.
Does garlic help in skin whitening?
Garlic helps to flush out the toxins and helps to make your skin acne-free and also helps to reduce marks.
Garlic for facial hair – rubbing garlic on face hair growth.
Garlic will not help remove facial hair.
What are the uses of garlic paste on skin?
Consuming garlic paste will help to scavenge the harmful oxygen radicals and treat all your skin problems. However, we do not recommend you to apply garlic paste on skin without consulting a skin specialist.
Any benefits of black garlic supplements?
You can take black garlic supplements to boost your immunity, improve skin, hair, and memory.
What are the benefits of garlic soap?
Garlic sopa will help prevent any skin infections and also protects against acne.
How many Calories in Roasted Garlic Bulb?
40 calories in roasted garlic bulb.