As we all know, garlic might not smell the most pleasant or leave a desirable taste in the mouth, but there’s no denying the benefits of this powerful vegetable! Yes, botanically, garlic is considered a vegetable, not an herb.
Garlic belongs to the allium family, or Allium sativum, which is a class of plants that also includes onions, shallots, leeks, and chives, with plant compounds that provide many nutritional properties. That’s not surprising since every vegetable benefits us in one way or another.
The garlic plant consists of a bulb, stem, and leaves. The bulb itself is usually comprised of about 10-20 cloves, and although other parts of the plant are edible, these are the most consumed part of a garlic plant. We use these cloves to cook, adding them to oil, sauce, stir-fries, veggies, and more, and most frequently garlic is used as a spice or herb in a ground up form. Unlike other veggies, garlic is not consumed in large quantities, but added to dishes in small amounts due to its powerful flavor.
Even those small quantities can pack a punch! Not just to the tastebuds, but when it comes to our health. Garlic has some impressive health benefits that many of us might not be aware of—so, time to grab those cloves from the refrigerator, hit the cutting board, and take in the nourishment!
Garlic can play a role in the body’s defense mechanisms in several ways. Diallyl sulfide is a compound found in garlic that may keep certain bacteria out of food, and therefore, out of the body. Using garlic on a regular basis supports a healthy immune system and may provide support against the common cold in adults.
The synthesis of nitric oxide is stimulated by garlic, which could potentially support cardiovascular health. If garlic is taken in high doses, it may support healthy blood pressure levels within the normal range.
There are good and bad cholesterol levels in the body, and when we talk about high cholesterol, we mean LDL cholesterol (the bad). Some studies show that garlic may potentially contribute to lowering LDL cholesterol.
As we know, cholesterol levels are directly related to heart support, so when our cholesterol is healthy it can benefit the heart. Diallyl trisulfide and hydrogen sulfide are both compounds found in garlic known for their heart protection properties.
Garlic contains strong antioxidant properties that benefit blood vessels. These antioxidants have the potential to support the body from damaging free radicals, aiding the body’s protective mechanisms. Increasing antioxidant enzymes can be beneficial for many reasons, even contribute to support of skin, hair, and nails, and help in keeping the immune system healthy.
Garlic brings great flavor to many dishes, especially the ones that will be beneficial to our health, like other vegetables. So, not only does garlic have tons of health properties on its own, but it can add amazing taste to other foods that provide nutrition. It’s no fun to eat something that tastes bad, whether it’s for the benefit of our wellbeing or not. And luckily, that’s not the case with the delicious and versatile garlic. It can be enjoyed in so many ways and so many different dishes, never letting our tastebuds get bored!
It’s no secret that garlic provides benefits, which is why it has been used all over the world for years. Including garlic in the diet and in supplements is both delicious and nourishing—not to mention easy! It can be taken as a supplement, in oil, used raw, or cooked, and the advantages will still be reaped. So, no more worries about that garlic aroma—it’s just part of the nutritious package!
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