Garlic: 11 Proven Health Benefits and Uses

Garlic is a powerful plant used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Recent studies have shown that garlic has several health benefits, including reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels and preventing the common cold. Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, recommended it to his patients as a cure for various ailments.

Garlic is packed with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have been found to help with various health issues. Studies are underway to explore garlic’s potential as a clinical therapy option. It can be consumed fresh or in the form of supplements, which have been found to have health-promoting effects.

Here are 11 human research-backed health benefits of garlic.

1. Compounds found in garlic have powerful therapeutic effects.

Garlic, a plant of the onion family, is not just a culinary delight with its pungent odor and delectable flavor. It carries a rich history, having been used for its health and medical characteristics since ancient times. Evidence of its use can be found in key civilizations like Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, and India.

The health advantages of garlic stem from creating sulfur compounds when it’s chopped, crushed, or eaten. The most well-known component is allicin, which is unstable and only appears briefly in raw garlic. Other chemicals may contribute to its health benefits. These sulfur compounds enter the body through the digestive tract and have significant biological consequences. Its unique flavor and health benefits have made it a popular cooking ingredient, standing the test of time.

2. It has antioxidant properties that help prevent illnesses like the common cold.

A 2016 study discovered that aged garlic extract (AGE) can be a game-changer for your immune system, alleviating severe symptoms and lowering school or work absences throughout the cold and flu season. Garlic components may also have antiviral effects, which prevent viruses from entering or multiplying within host cells. This means that garlic and its supplements could be your shield against illnesses such as the flu and common cold, offering hope for a healthier future.

3. Though very low in calories, garlic is highly nutritious.

Garlic is a nutritious food that belongs to the Allium family. It has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes since ancient times. One garlic clove contains 4.5 calories, 0.2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of carbohydrates. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and selenium. Garlic also contains fiber, which is good for digestion and helps you feel full. It contains allicin, which has antimicrobial properties and may boost the immune system.

4. Garlic’s active compounds reduce blood pressure.

Cardiovascular disorders, such as heart attacks and strokes, are the leading cause of death globally. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk factor for many disorders. According to a 2020 meta-analysis, garlic supplements can lower blood pressure in high-risk individuals, lowering the risk of cardiovascular events by 16–40%.

This impact is comparable to some blood pressure drugs but with fewer adverse effects. Allicin in garlic may inhibit the formation of angiotensin II, a hormone that raises blood pressure and relaxes blood vessels, allowing for smoother blood flow. In rare circumstances, garlic supplements may be as beneficial as traditional treatments.

5. It may help you live longer.

The effect of garlic on human longevity is unknown, but it has been found to improve risk factors such as blood pressure. According to a 2019 Chinese study, older people who ate garlic at least once a week lived longer than those who ate it less frequently. It can also help protect against infectious infections, a leading cause of death, particularly among the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

6. Heart disease risk may decrease as garlic lowers cholesterol.

According to a 2018 review, garlic can lower total and LDL cholesterol, especially in people with somewhat high cholesterol. However, additional research is required to corroborate these conclusions. A 2016 study discovered that consuming garlic supplements for over two months could reduce LDL by up to 10% in people with mildly elevated cholesterol levels. In addition, garlic does not appear to affect HDL cholesterol or triglyceride levels, which are risk factors for heart disease.

7. Improved memory

A 2020 study found that garlic compounds may be neuroactive, stimulating neural tissue. Researchers used mature garlic extract on cognitively impaired mice, finding that garlic compounds positively contribute to learning and memory formation, thereby improving brain function.

8. The antioxidants in garlic may prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Its high antioxidant content may help protect against oxidative damage, contributing to aging and cognitive decline. According to studies, these antioxidants may reduce oxidative stress and minimize the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Animal studies indicate that allicin in garlic may protect against cognitive deterioration. However, further human study is required to grasp its potential correctly. Some studies have suggested that garlic supplements can help people with Alzheimer’s disease directly.

9. Athletic performance may improve with garlic supplements.

Garlic, a performance-enhancing drug, was employed by ancient civilizations to reduce weariness and boost laborer work capacity. Although rodent studies suggest that garlic can boost exercise performance, human research still needs to be improved. A recent study discovered that garlic may prevent exercise-induced oxidative stress and muscle damage and that garlic supplements may boost oxygen capacity during exercise. However, human benefits are still being determined, and more research is required to corroborate these findings.

10. It may improve bone health.

Recent research has indicated that garlic can promote bone health in postmenopausal women by lowering oxidative stress, contributing to osteoporosis. A 2017 clinical investigation discovered that consuming garlic tablets every day lowered oxidative stress. A 2018 study found that taking garlic supplements for 12 weeks reduced pain in women with knee osteoarthritis and obesity. However, further human research is required to grasp Its potential advantages properly.

11. It may help detoxify heavy metals.

Garlic has been shown in studies to reduce lead toxicity and associated symptoms at high dosages significantly. Its sulfur components defend against heavy metal toxicity, while allicin reduces lead levels in the blood and essential organs. According to a 2012 study, garlic lowered blood lead levels by 19%, surpassing D-penicillamine medication in symptom reduction.

12. Adding garlic to your diet is simple and tasty.

Garlic is not just a health powerhouse; it’s also a versatile and simple food that can be integrated into your diet. It can complement savory dishes such as soups and sauces, adding a robust flavor that can transform even the blandest dishes. It comes in many forms, including whole cloves, pastes, powders, and supplements such as extract and oil.

You can even make a simple and nutritious salad dressing by squeezing garlic cloves with extra virgin olive oil and salt. The possibilities are endless with garlic, inspiring you to get creative in the kitchen and make it a staple in your diet.

How to take garlic and garlic supplements

Garlic can be supplemented in various ways, including consuming raw or cooked garlic or using commercially available supplements. The efficacy of each approach differs, with aged garlic having more excellent antioxidant capabilities and fresh one providing more therapeutic advantages. Garlic supplements can vary in strength and interact poorly with medications, so check with a doctor before starting use. According to research, the most effective supplementation varies by individual, and cooking procedures can affect its content.

Side Effects

Garlic has potential health benefits but can leave a strong odor on your breath. Chewing parsley or taking an odorless garlic supplement can minimize the odor. Garlic allergies are rare, but if you experience skin rashes, itching, or difficulty breathing, stop eating it and seek medical attention. It has blood-thinning properties that can be beneficial, but if you have a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning medication, talk to your doctor before increasing garlic intake.


Garlic’s medicinal virtues have been known for thousands of years, and science is finally validating its safety and health advantages. On the other hand, those on blood thinners should consult with their doctor before increasing their garlic intake.



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