Garlic's Powerful Health Benefits
How Garlic Prevent Chronic Disease
Garlic’s nutritional profile and bioactive compounds make it one of the best resources for preventing chronic diseases.
How Garlic Prevents Cancer
Garlic is defined as an allium vegetable. This type of vegetable has been shown to prevent cancers, especially those of the gastrointestinal tract. (1)
- Allium vegetable consumption has been shown to reduce risk of stomach, colorectal, esophageal, and prostate cancers. (2)
- One of the main reasons garlic and other alliums are believed to be such good cancer protectors is their sulfur compounds. These bioactive compounds have been shown to reduce the amount of nitrosamines produced when cooking and preserving foods. Nitrosamines are common carcinogens. (3)
- Alternatively, garlic constituents have also been shown to suppress cancer proliferation by inducing cell cycle arrest and cell death. (4) Often it is the growth and eventual spread of cancer that kills, so keeping cancer isolated and minimized can greatly increase chances of survival and recovery.
How Garlic Prevents Cardiovascular Disease
Garlic consumption has been shown to improve many factors of cardiovascular disease.
- Hypertension is an issue that affects over 100 million Americans. Garlic supplementation has been shown to significantly reduce both your systolic and diastolic blood pressures. (5) In one study, garlic helped to induce relaxation of the blood vessels by activating nitric oxide production, which in turn enables better blood flow. (6)
- LDL cholesterol is the unhealthy kind that can collect in and stick to your arterial walls, leading to impeded blood flow. Blockage can eventually cause a clot and result in a heart attack or stroke. (7) Garlic consumption has shown to combat this risk by reducing LDL cholesterol levels. (8)
- Cholesterol buildup and blockage is further exacerbated once LDL cholesterol is oxidized. Presence of oxidized LDL cholesterol indicates atherosclerosis, the irreversible formation of plaque on the arterial wall and a signifier of heart disease and stroke risk. Garlic supplementation has been shown to help prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation via activity of certain sulfur containing compounds. (9)
Garlic Promotes a Number of Health Benefits
How Garlic Promotes Immune Health
Garlic has been shown to assist many parts of the immune system; it can stimulate lymphocyte proliferation and macrophage phagocytosis – two actions essential for ridding the body of foreign pathogens. (10)
How Garlic Boosts Athletic Performance
As far back as the age of the Ancient Greeks, garlic has been used to boost athletic performance. (11) Garlic is believed to improve athletic performance through its ability to increase nitric oxide concentrations. Nitric oxide causes your blood vessels to dilate, which allows for increased blood flow and oxygen exchange. (12)
How Garlic Promotes Gut Health
There is a growing body of evidence showing that good gut health means better overall health. The gut microbiome can influence mental health, nutrient absorption, and immune function. High-fat diets and aging both negatively influence your gut microbiome. Conversely, garlic improves gut health and addresses complications from high-fat diets and aging, and it was shown to behave like a prebiotic. Prebiotics serve as the food of the good bacteria in your gut, allowing them to thrive. (13)