Garlic: health benefits and contraindications
Antibacterial, rich in sulfur compounds including allicin… Garlic is a health superfood, good for the heart, against skin infections…
The World Health Organization recognizes the use of garlic as a complementary treatment to dietary measures aimed at lowering blood lipid levels (cholesterol and triglycerides) and in the treatment of respiratory infections, intestinal worms, digestive disorders and arthritis.
– Garlic is rich in proteins and carbohydrates, but almost devoid of lipids (fats).
– This bulb is a concentrate of minerals and is notably a very good source of manganese, copper, selenium and phosphorus. As for vitamins, garlic has vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
– Garlic is rich in sulfur compounds, especially allicin, which is responsible for the very characteristic smell of garlic but also for its many health benefits. This compound doesn’t exist as such in the garlic clove in its natural state. Instead, an amino acid, ailliin, a sulfur compound, is found in the clove. Next to it, in separate small compartments, are molecules of a particular enzyme, alliinase. As long as the two substances aren’t in contact, nothing happens. But when you cut the garlic clove, slice it, ailliin and ailliinase will interact and give birth to aillicin. It is easy to recognize: it is what gives garlic its particular smell and taste.
– It contains many antioxidants (flavonoids, tocopherols …) that help fight against the production of free radicals, harmful to the body.
– And it is a good source of saponins with a cholesterol-lowering and blood pressure-lowering effect.
– Garlic also contains a lot of fructosans, particular fibers that have the ability to facilitate the development of good bacteria in the intestine. The result: easier digestion and a stronger immune system thanks to these good
To distinguish : Wild garlic, also called wild garlic or wild garlic, is very different from its cousin, cultivated garlic. It is not its bulb that is consumed, but its green leaves, which have more or less the same nutrients as garlic, but in higher concentrations.
Health benefits of garlic
Garlic extracts are rich in active ingredients, notably allicin, and are said to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
The adenosine contained in garlic cloves has a small vasodilator effect, which allows a better blood circulation and could also explain the anti-hypertensive effect.
In addition, garlic contains prostaglandins which have the property of thinning the blood, which may further improve blood circulation.
The compounds in garlic also help reduce atherosclerotic plaques, admits the WHO. These plaques, composed of cholesterol, are deposited over the years on the walls of the arteries, making them more rigid and reducing their diameter.
This pathology is therefore a risk factor for cardiovascular accidents. Several studies have shown that the disease progressed three times less quickly in people at risk who consumed garlic than in people at risk who did not.
Garlic seems to be particularly protective of the aorta, the central artery of our body. Regular consumption of garlic would therefore reduce the risk of cardiovascular death.
The sulfur compounds in allicin prevent the proliferation of cancerous cells and protect the body from certain potential carcinogens. Moreover, the numerous antioxidants contained in garlic protect cells from the deleterious action of free radicals, which are involved in the development of certain cancers (mainly stomach and intestine).
Infections: colds, bronchitis…
Garlic has been known since ancient times for its antimicrobial and anti-infectious properties. It would be particularly useful to fight against colds, bronchitis and other seasonal infections. This little clove is therefore a precious ally in winter to keep viruses at bay until the sun comes out!
Garlic may have antifungal benefits. For example, it can be used in the form of an ointment based on ajoene, a garlic compound, to fight athlete’s foot, the fungus that attacks feet that have “macerated” too much in the humidity of sports shoes
According to a study conducted at the University of Louiseville in the United States, garlic could be an excellent way to preserve memory and cognitive faculties. It would act by renewing the intestinal microbiota, the flora directly connected to the brain by the vagus nerve. Once again, it is a sulfur compound that is responsible for this beneficial effect on memory.
Due to its anticoagulant effects, it is recommended to avoid consuming large amounts of garlic before and after surgery or when taking anticoagulant medications. It is also recommended not to take garlic with other anticoagulant plants such as ginkgo, ginseng, eleutherococcus, white willow. If you suffer from a blood or metabolic disease, ask your doctor for advice before consuming more than one clove of garlic per day.