Did you know that garlic belongs to the lily family? It’s a vegetable that’s closely related to leeks, shallots, onions, and chives.
Not only is it a popular ingredient, but it has many health benefits as well. In fact, it’s been used medicinally for centuries by the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians.
Interested in learning more? Want to know about the health benefits of garlic? If so, you’re on the right page.
We’ll be going over some of its uses below. Keep reading to learn more!
1. It Can Help Reduce Blood Pressure
Garlic contains active compounds that can help lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg.
While the exact mechanism is unclear, research suggests that it helps by increasing the production of nitric oxide, a compound that plays many roles in the body; this allows the smooth muscles to relax, which causes the blood vessels to dilate. Ultimately, it’s this dilation that lowers blood pressure.
In fact, studies have shown that garlic is just as effective as prescription medications at lowering blood pressure. The effects are particularly noticeable in those with hypertension, compared to those with healthy blood pressure levels.
2. It Can Improve Your Cholesterol Levels
Garlic can lower your total cholesterol by up to 30 mg/dL. What’s more, is that it only lowers LDL aka the ‘bad’ cholesterol’; it has no effect on HDL, the ‘good’ cholesterol that you want in the body.
The effects are also dose-dependent. That is, the more garlic you take, the lower your LDL and total cholesterol will be. The benefits seem to be temporary, however, according to a few studies that looked at its long-term effects.
Given that, it’s probably best not to rely on it solely if you’re trying to lower your cholesterol. With that said, it never hurts to add some to your diet.
3. It Can Lower Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Aged garlic extract (AGE) contains antioxidants that may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Not only that, but it’s neuroprotective and can reduce oxidative stress—something that’s often associated with cognition dysfunction.
There’s also evidence that it can prevent the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and that can also lower your risk of the condition.
That’s not all—garlic also contains allyl sulfide, an organosulfur compound that can help change the gut bacteria associated with age-related memory problems.
The Different Health Benefits of Garlic
And there you have it—three health benefits of garlic. As you can see, it can benefit you in various ways. The best part? It’s delicious and there are many garlic recipes that you can try so you can easily add it to your diet.
Have questions about your health? Looking for a health services agency in the San Diego area? Feel free to contact us to set up an appointment with one of our experts!