Garlic: Benefits, Sources, Deficiency

Garlic has a bulb-like structure, and hence, in common terminology, is referred to as a bulbous plant. The scientific name of Garlic is Allium sativum

It is an ingredient that is commonly used while cooking, because of the distinct flavour it adds to the dish – thus, making it popular all around the world. It is also known for its pungent odour. 

While the herb was initially famous for its culinary properties, an increasing number of people are now aware of the health benefits it provides, and are slowly shifting focus to the same.

However, the knowledge that garlic possesses medicinal properties is not new – it was used as an antiseptic in order to treat gangrene during the World Wars.

Benefits of Garlic

Consuming garlic or garlic supplements can provide you with many advantages. By boosting the immune system, they can prevent the onset of the common cold – and in the event that it does occur, can reduce the number of days for which you will be affected with the cold.

Garlic also has benefits to provide with regard to cardiovascular health. Hypertension is one of the major concerns in that area – and garlic helps combat that.

Studies have shown that garlic supplements (which contain a relatively high amount of Allicin) have proved to be effective in lowering the blood pressure of hypertensive patients, bringing it closer to normal. 

In some people, garlic supplements were as effective as regular hypertensive medication in combating the illness. Another cardiovascular benefit is the fact that garlic supplementation has been found to slightly lower LDL cholesterol (‘Bad’ cholesterol) levels, while HDL cholesterol (‘Good’ cholesterol) levels remain unaffected.

These work in tandem to improve heart health. The herb also appears to have some advantages to provide for the brain – as studies show that they may help combat age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. 

This is because garlic contains certain antioxidants that prevent cell damage from occurring while boosting the antioxidant enzymes in the body.

A study has also shown that consumption of garlic may help reduce heavy metal toxicity, with regard to the observations made about the reduction in levels of lead. This benefit is observed (possibly) because of the sulfur compounds present in garlic.

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Sources of Garlic

Garlic can either be consumed as the herb itself or in the form of daily supplements – both have certain nutritional values. While small amounts of garlic (4-9 grams) do not have any significant amounts of nutrients, 2-3 times that amount contains a substantial amount of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and the mineral, manganese.

Apart from this, an ounce of garlic also contains relatively significant quantities of selenium, another important mineral. The clincher is the fact that while it provides all these nutrients, the calorie count is still very low.

The medicinal properties contained in garlic are primarily due to the compound Allicin; however, it is only active when the herb is crushed when it is raw – otherwise, it loses the benefits it provides. You must keep this in mind while including garlic in your meals.

Deficiencies of Garlic

As garlic does not fall under the category of known essential nutrients, there are no particular deficiencies caused by the lack of consumption of garlic – this has been proved through obvious reasoning. 

Some people are allergic to garlic, and yet others do not consume it because they find the taste of garlic too pungent for their liking – and they do not suffer from any known deficiencies and seem to be leading healthy lives.

However, you must note that it is still advisable for you to consume garlic because of the numerous benefits it provides – it definitely does boost your health in numerous ways, and thus, it would make sense for you to incorporate either the raw form of the herb or its supplements into your daily diet.

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