Garlic is a tuber with the Latin name Allium sativum. This white onion is still included in the amaryllis plant family (Amaryllidaceae). Garlic is a clove bulb native to Central Asia, but also grows tough in Italy and southern France.
Garlic is used as a spice used in almost every Indonesian food and dish, not just a kitchen spice that serves to strengthen the taste and aroma of a dish. Moreover, garlic is also used for traditional medicine. Garlic has properties as a natural antibiotic in the human body. Usually, garlic is used to treat health problems related to the heart and blood system.
This is because garlic contains active sulfur compounds such as alliin, allyl propyl disulfide, diallyl disulfide, and diallyl trisulfide. When crushed garlic is chewed in the mouth, these sulfur substances will react to form allicin.
Thanks to its nutritional content, garlic has a variety of benefits. Here are some of the benefits that you get if you eat garlic for health, which we have summarized from various sources.
- Prevent Colds
Garlic can increase immunity, so it is believed to prevent colds. Studies show that those who are used to consuming garlic, have fewer colds and recover faster when they catch a cold than those who don’t eat it.
However, the benefits of garlic to prevent colds still require further research.
- Prevent cancer
Garlic is known to contain the compound allicin which is rich in antioxidants and has anticancer properties. A study shows that consuming garlic can reduce the risk of stomach cancer and relieve symptoms of various types of cancer, such as breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer. However, further research is still needed to ensure the effectiveness of garlic in preventing cancer.
- Maintain Heart Health
A study shows that supplements containing garlic extract can lower cholesterol and hypertension, thereby maintaining a healthy heart.
In addition, red blood cells can convert the sulfur content in garlic into hydrogen sulfide gas, which serves to dilate blood vessels.
- Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease And Dementia
Garlic contains antioxidants that can fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals themselves can increase the risk of diseases in the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
A study shows that garlic supplements can increase antioxidants in the body and treat high blood pressure.
- Maintain Digestive Health
Not only good for the heart, garlic is also good for maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Studies show that garlic can be used to reduce H. pylori bacterial infection in the stomach.
- Lowers cholesterol
For those who have high cholesterol levels, garlic supplements seem to be able to reduce total cholesterol by about 10-15 percent. Although garlic has the benefit of lowering bad cholesterol, garlic does not have a significant effect on increasing good cholesterol.
- Lowering Blood Pressure
Human studies have found that garlic supplements have a significant effect on lowering blood pressure. A study has shown that 600-1,500 mg of aged garlic extract is as effective as the drug Atenolol in lowering blood pressure for 24 weeks.
- Improve Bone Health
Garlic supplements may have beneficial effects on women’s bone health. A study in postmenopausal women found that daily doses of dried garlic extract significantly decreased markers of estrogen deficiency.
- Protects From Heavy Metal Toxicity
A four-week study of employees at a car battery factory found that garlic reduced blood lead levels by 19 percent. It also reduces clinical signs of toxicity, such as headaches and blood pressure.
- Preventing Premature Birth
The most common cause of premature birth is infection during pregnancy. Garlic is thought to have antimicrobial effects that can prevent infection and lower the risk of premature birth.
However, the efficacy of garlic to prevent premature birth still requires further research.
Efficacy and benefits of garlic can be obtained to the fullest, if consumed raw. Do not cook it above 60 degrees Celsius, because it can remove the allicin content that is beneficial to the body. Even so, garlic can not replace the role of medicine as a whole.
If you want to use garlic supplements to prevent or treat a disease, you should first consult a doctor, especially if you are taking other drugs or supplements. The goal is to avoid the effects of interactions between drugs or reduce the effectiveness of treatment.
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