- Antimicrobial, meaning it is really great at fighting off bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Some examples include upper respiratory tract infections, candida and intestinal worms. How does garlic combat such a wide variety of microorganisms? It has a built in fighter called allicin. When you chop or crush garlic, an enzymatic reaction occurs that produces allicin, a sulphur-containing compound that is responsible for garlic’s pungent aroma and actions.
- Hypotensive. Garlic can lower mild-moderate high blood pressure. Garlic causes the smooth muscle within blood vessels to relax, allowing the blood vessels to widen and reduce the pressure on the walls overall lowering blood pressure.
- Hypolipidemic, that is, it can lower cholesterol. It is known as a natural statin (the class of pharmaceuticals given to lower cholesterol). It lowers LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides while increasing HDL (“good” cholesterol). Therapeutic doses (not dietary) of garlic can increase the effect of anticoagulant medications as well as the antithrombotic action of aspirin and other anti-inflammatories. Always consult with your healthcare provider if you are on these medications before starting therapeutic doses of garlic.
There you have it…three reasons why we love garlic! If you are looking to better your cardiovascular health or fight off an infection be sure to add garlic into your diet. And if you already include garlic in your daily diet, double the dose because recipes never calls for enough!
If you liked these tips, be sure to sign up for my newsletter where I share many more health and wellness ideas!
Godfrey A., Saunders P. (2010) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine: Volume I: Botanical medicine monographs. CCNM Press Inc. Toronto
Hoffman D. (2003) Medical Herbalism. The science and practice of herbal medicine. Healing Arts Press. Rochester, Vermont.