Let’s play a little game. The item is a herb that is commonly used in cooking. It is white,bulb-like in shape and produces a strong distinctive flavour once peeled or cooked. While some may find its smell fragrant, others may find it repulsive. Still can’t guess what it is? It is GARLIC!
Garlic (Allium sativum) has beenknown for its medicinal and culinary uses ever since ancient times. It is available in its original form, in powder or as supplements. But, what makes garlic great for us? Let’s discover why.
#1: Garlic is packed with minerals and vitamins
Do you know garlic contains minerals and vitamins that can be good for your health? According to Self Nutrition Data, taking up to 3 cloves of garlic (~9g) per day can provide you with 5% of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for the growth and maintenance of body tissues. It is also an antioxidant that can prevent damage caused by free radicals in the body.
Three cloves of garlic a day can also provide you with 6% of vitamin B6. This vitamin is essential for various bodily processes such as maintaining normal nerve function, production of red blood cells and antibodies. Garlic is also low in saturated fats and a source of essential minerals such as calcium, manganese and selenium.
#2: Garlic contains allicin
Allicin is one of the active constituents of garlic and to produce this, the garlic has to be crushed or chopped. Allicin is found to display antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic and antiviral properties against certain strains of viruses, which can be beneficial in preventing diseases.
#3: Garlic extracts can be a source of antioxidant
Free radicals present in the body can damage the endothelial cells, which can in turn contribute to aging and diseases such as cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and inflammatory disorders. But aged garlic extracts (AGE) may be able to counter this. AGE are extracts taken from fresh garlic that have been aged for a period of time. It is shown to be able to protect our endothelial cells from free radicals. That aside, AGE also plays a role in preventing loss of brain function.
Ankri, S., & Mirelman, D. (1999). Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic. Microbes and Infection; 1(2): 125-129
Borek, C. (2001). Antioxidant health effects of aged garlic extract. The Journal of Nutrition; doi: 1010S-1015S
Live Strong. Available from www.livestrong.com
Medline Plus. Available from www.nlm.nih.gov
SELF Nutrition Data. Available from www.nutritiondata.self.com
University of Maryland Medical Center. Available from www.umm.edu
Wei, Z., & Lau, B.H.S. (1998). Garlic inhibits free radical generation and augments antioxidant enzyme activity in vascular endothelial cells. Nutrition Research; 18(1): 61-70