Taste the health benefits of this flavorful member of the onion family.
Garlic adds an extra pop of flavor and dimension to almost any savory dish. Whether you’re making soup, stirfry, pasta, pizza, or whatever you’re dreaming up for dinner, you can level up the taste and the nutrition by tossing in a couple of cloves. Roasted whole, sliced, or minced, garlic prepared any way has a host of health benefits to enjoy – and there’s never been a better time to experiment with more of it in your meals!
Here are some of our favorite health benefits of garlic:
- Helps fight illness
- Protects the brain
- Good for the hair and skin
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
- Increases your energy
- Can minimize bone loss during menopause
Learn more about these health benefits of garlic below.
Helps fight illness
There’s a reason you’ve been told to eat garlic during cold and flu season—the immunity health benefits are not just an old wives’ tale! One 12-week study showed that a group that took a daily garlic supplement had 63% fewer colds than the placebo group. For the ones who did get sick, symptoms went away much faster.
Protects the brain
Antioxidants are potent warriors against many age-related conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. The antioxidants in garlic help protect the body and brain against oxidative stress from free radicals that can damage brain cells. Free radicals are a byproduct of metabolism or toxin exposure, which the body removes naturally. However, the removal process may become less efficient as we age.
Good for the hair and skin
The same antioxidant health benefits of garlic that help your brain are also good for your skin and hair. Free radicals can speed the effects of aging on the skin, so including antioxidant-rich veggies and fruits in your diet is a good recipe to counteract them for a healthy glow. Some people even like to apply garlic topically on hair to slow thinning.
Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
High blood pressure and cholesterol are significant risk factors for heart disease. Garlic works to protect your cardiovascular system by lowering cholesterol (particularly LDL, the “bad” cholesterol) by about 10-15% and reducing blood pressure. However, unless you’re a huge garlic lover, you’ll be better off taking a supplement to see marked effects from this health benefit of garlic – the studied amounts were equivalent to 4+ cloves per day!
Increases your energy
Fun fact: Ancient Olympic athletes in Greece consumed garlic to enhance their performance! And while they might not have based the tradition on modern science, data does show garlic’s effectiveness in preventing fatigue, which can serve you well during an exercise session.
Can minimize bone loss during menopause
Menopausal and postmenopausal women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis, due, in part, to depleting estrogen levels. While there have not been extensive studies on garlic’s role in preventing bone loss, it was shown in one study to have decreased one marker of estrogen deficiency by almost half.
With so many health benefits of garlic, are you inspired to include more of this flavorful ingredient in your recipes? Start with this ultra-simple roasted garlic and browse our health and wellness blog for more nutrition information and recipes.