Health Benefits of Garlic

The benefits of eating garlic have been discussed for many years. There is some scientific evidence to suggest that eating garlic is good for you as well as a significant amount of anecdotal evidence. The suggested health benefits of garlic include:

  • helps prevent the common cold
  • helps to treat the common cold
  • helps regulate blood sugar levels
  • may prevent some complications with diabetes
  • cancer fighting properties
  • antiseptic qualities
  • effective in healing wounds and infections
  • useful in treating intestinal worms and parasites

New evidence suggests the benefits of garlic are reduced when the garlic is cooked before eating. However, the negative impact of cooking can be reduced if the garlic is crushed before using:

Claudio R. Galmarini and colleagues in Argentina and the United States are reporting new evidence that crushing garlic before cooking can reduce the loss of garlic’s healthful properties.

The researchers found that even a few minutes of cooking reduces levels of those compounds. The reduction is steepest in whole garlic, and less pronounced in garlic that has been crushed before cooking. Crushing or chopping garlic releases an enzyme, alliinase, that catalyzes the formation of allicin, which then breaks down to form a variety of healthful organosulfur compounds.

It is uncertain whether or not taking garlic supplements results in the same health benefits. You can easily increase your intake of garlic by making slight changes to your diet so supplements are generally unnecessary anyway. For example, adding an extra couple of cloves of garlic to your cooked meals (such as casseroles, stir fries, curries), adding crushed garlic to salad dressings or making popular dishes such as tzatziki, will all increase your garlic intake.. This is far healthier than taking supplements and will have the added benefit of unknown vitamins and minerals.