The Immune-Boosting Benefits of Raw Garlic

Written by: Kaushik Jethva

Last Updated: October 13, 2023 References

garlic bulb in wooden bowl place on chopping block on vintage wooden background.
garlic bulb in wooden bowl place on chopping block on vintage wooden background.

Garlic, a humble bulb with an aroma that ranges from sweet to pungent, has been used for centuries not just for its delicious taste but for its myriad health benefits as well. From the time of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates to modern Western medicine, the benefits of raw garlic have been studied, documented, and hailed. [1]In this extensive exploration, we delve into the health benefits of eating raw garlic, the potency of garlic oil, and the importance of various garlic products.

1 Historical Perspective

fresh organic garlic on white table
Fresh organic garlic on white table

Historically, garlic’s medicinal properties were recognized by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates. He prescribed garlic for a plethora of ailments. Fast forward to today, and garlic holds its revered position in both culinary and medical realms. It’s not just about eating raw garlic; various forms like aged garlic extract, garlic oil, and garlic supplements have also been studied extensively for their potential health benefits.

2 Benefits of Eating Fresh Garlic

garlic in sack bag on wooden background
garlic in sack bag on wooden background

Cardiovascular Disease and Health

One of the most touted benefits of raw garlic is its effect on heart health. Multiple studies have linked that if you consume garlic clove, helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Garlic compounds, especially sulphur compounds, play a role in this. For those with high blood cholesterol, consuming garlic has been shown to decrease cholesterol levels, particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

Moreover, garlic intake can help regulate blood pressure. Many with high blood pressure have reported improvement after increasing their garlic consumption. Fresh garlic, when consumed, especially on an empty stomach, can help lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease. Besides, garlic products can inhibit the formation of blood clots in blood vessels, further promoting heart health.

Immune System Boost

With its rich content of Vitamin C, garlic helps bolster the immune system. Regular garlic consumption can fend off the common cold and even reduce its duration if you do fall sick. This age-old remedy, eating garlic, especially during flu season, might save you from a week of sniffles.

Cancer Prevention

Several human studies have found a connection between an increased garlic intake and a reduced risk of certain cancers, such as stomach cancer and colon cancer. The compounds in garlic cloves have been found to have cancer-fighting properties, making the benefits of raw garlic stand out even more.

Brain Health and Antioxidant Properties

Garlic is loaded with antioxidants that combat reactive oxygen species, reducing oxidative stress in the body. This, in turn, offers protection against chronic disease and supports brain health, potentially reducing the risk of brain ailments.

Detoxification and Liver Health

Chronic occupational lead poisoning is a health hazard many are unaware of. Interestingly, garlic consumption can reduce blood lead levels, providing a protective effect against this form of poisoning. Additionally, garlic supports liver health, aiding in its detoxifying functions.

Bone Health

Preliminary research suggests that garlic can help reduce bone loss, especially in women undergoing menopause. This gives hope for garlic’s potential role in bone health, although more research is needed.

Diabetes and Blood Sugar Regulation

For those battling high blood sugar, incorporating more garlic into the diet can be beneficial. Garlic supplementation has shown potential in lower blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity.

Anti-microbial Properties

Historically, garlic has been used against various ailments, including intestinal worms and kidney infections. Fresh garlic, garlic oil, and even garlic extracts can combat a variety of microbial infections.

3 Potential Risks and Considerations

While the benefits of raw garlic are numerous, it’s essential to consider potential downsides. Excessive garlic consumption can cause severe skin irritation and allergic reactions in some individuals. Garlic’s anti-clotting properties, while beneficial for some, might prolong bleeding in others. As with all dietary supplements and changes, it’s crucial to consult with a medical professional before drastically increasing garlic intake or starting any garlic supplementation.

4 Different Forms of Garlic and Their Benefits

set of cut garlic on white background
set of cut garlic on white background
  • Raw Garlic Cloves: Eating raw garlic is perhaps the most potent way to enjoy its benefits. Consuming garlic on an empty stomach maximizes its medicinal properties.
  • Garlic Oil: Extracted from the garlic bulb, garlic oil is often used for its anti-microbial effects and delicious taste.
  • Aged Garlic Extract: It offers similar benefits as raw garlic but is gentler on the stomach, making it a preferred choice for many.
  • Garlic Supplements: For those who find eating garlic too pungent, garlic supplements, including pills and capsules, provide an alternative. However, always ensure you’re consuming high-quality supplements.

5 Wrapping Up

From a historical perspective to its performance-enhancing capabilities, garlic has remained a constant. Whether it’s consuming fresh garlic cloves, taking garlic supplements, or even exploring aged garlic extract consumption, the health benefits of garlic are vast.

While modern medicine has evolved tremendously, sometimes, nature offers remedies that are as effective, if not more. Garlic, with its heart health benefits, cancer prevention properties, and immune-boosting capabilities, is a testament to nature’s power. Just remember, as with all things, moderation is key. Before making any significant changes to your diet or embarking on garlic supplementation, always consult with a medical professional.

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Kaushik Jethva
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Updated: October 13, 2023
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