Current research shows that garlic may have some real health benefits, such as protection against the common cold and the ability to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Garlic is a plant in the Allium (onion) family. It is closely related to onions, shallots, and leeks.
Each segment of a garlic bulb is called a clove. There are about 10–20 cloves in a single bulb, give or take.
Garlic grows in many parts of the world and is a popular ingredient in cooking, due to its strong smell and delicious taste.
However, throughout ancient history, the main use of garlic was for its health and medicinal properties.
Its use was well documented by many major civilizations, including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese.
Scientists now know that most of garlic’s health benefits are caused by sulfur compounds formed when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed, or chewed.
Perhaps the most well-known compound is allicin. However, allicin is an unstable compound that is only briefly present in fresh garlic after it’s been cut or crushed.
Other compounds that may play a role in garlic’s health benefits include diallyl disulfide and s-allyl cysteine.
The sulfur compounds from garlic enter your body from the digestive tract. They then travel all over your body, exerting strong biological effects.
Garlic is highly nutritious but has very few calories
Calorie for calorie, garlic is incredibly nutritious.
A single clove (3 grams) of raw garlic contains (4Trusted Source):
Manganese: 2% of the daily value (DV)
Vitamin B6: 2% of the DV
Vitamin C: 1% of the DV
Selenium: 1% of the DV
Fiber: 0.06 grams
This comes with 4.5 calories, 0.2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of carbs.
Garlic also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients.
Garlic can help protect against illness, including the common cold
Garlic supplements may help prevent and reduce the severity of illnesses like the flu and common cold, but more research needs to be done before any conclusions can be made.
Garlic supplements seem to reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, particularly in those who have high cholesterol. HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides do not seem to be affected.
Garlic contains antioxidants that can help protect against cell damage and aging. It may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.