Garlic, a fragrant, unpretentious onion that plays a role in the flavor of so many dishes, also has a number of benefits for your heart, brain and immune system health.
It contains a number of key compounds including vitamins and minerals that provide powerful antibiotic, immune-boosting, anti-cancer and cardioprotective benefits.
Garlic is closely related to onions, shallots, leeks and chives and has been a staple of the diet in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Mediterranean region for thousands of years. In recent years, research has shown that this popular vegetable has a number of health benefits:
There is evidence to suggest that garlic has the ability to fight cancer. For example, the large Iowa Women's Health Study analyzed the diets of more than 41,000 middle-aged women and found that higher consumption of garlic was associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer.
Research shows that garlic can strengthen the human immune system. A study conducted during flu season found that subjects taking aged garlic extract had reduced severity of colds and flu with fewer symptoms and had fewer school and work absences.
Vitamins and minerals
Garlic is remarkably rich in a number of important nutrients. Garlic contains fiber, selenium, vitamin C, manganese, calcium, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, phosphorus and iron.
An analysis of numerous studies has shown that garlic lowers total cholesterol and also lowers diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
Garlic has antibiotic properties. Studies comparing garlic to broad-spectrum commercial antibiotics have sometimes shown it to be the more effective of the two. And interestingly, the bacteria don't seem to develop resistance to garlic the way they do to typical antibiotics.