Garlic or lehsun is a very famous spice or vegetable (belongs to the Alliaceae family) which is most commonly used in almost all the Indian curries. In India it is the most important ingredient of the veg or non-veg dishes, used for getting nice smell and fabulous taste. Its sulphur-containing compounds are responsible for its pungent odour. It has both the nutritional health values and the medicinal values to nourish the body.
It has been used for years as a best home remedy for treating various problems like headaches, common cold, cough, pimples, acne, insect bites, ulcers, snakebites, tumors, wounds, heart diseases, cancer, measles and etc because of its anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.
It was first originated in the central region of the Asia and considered as the one of the oldest cultivated plant worldwide. It has been used for years for variety of therapeutic purposes by various countries. It is commercially cultivated in many countries such as China, India, South Korea, Spain, United States and etc.
Fact about Garlic/Lehsun
An important fact about the garlic is, it increases its nutritional health benefits if you let it sit for some time after chopping or crushing. Using whole or intact garlic in the dishes does not provide complete health benefits as it’s all the beneficial properties remains inactive in intact form.
Benefits of Garlic/Lehsun
Indian cuisines are incomplete without the proper use of garlic as it enhances taste and nutritional values of the dishes as it is packed with the variety of healthy ingredients. It is very famous and strong bitter spice and miracle herb has lots of medicinal values and used as a therapeutic purposes. It has natural capability to prevent and treat various infections, diseases and other bad health conditions. Some of the outstanding nutritional health benefits of the garlic are mentioned below:
Benefits of Garlic to Fight Infections
Fights with Infections
- Garlic has antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral and anti fungal properties which makes it able to fight with almost all the infections caused by the bacteria, virus, fungus, yeast, intestinal worms and etc if eaten on daily basis.
Prevents from Food Poisoning
- Eating some fresh garlic regularly helps in preventing from the food poisoning caused by the E. coli, Salmonella enteritidis, Staphylococcus aureus or other harmful bacteria.
Relieves Respiratory Tract Infections
- It prevents from the frequent occurrence of the seasonal colds and cough. It provides relief from the throat irritations and upper respiratory tract infections.
Prevents Respiratory System Disorders
- It prevents from other disorders of the respiratory system such as asthma, dyspnoea (difficulty of breathing), chronic bronchitis and etc. It also enhances expectoration (frequency of coughing up and spitting out) among people suffering from cold.
Strong and Effective Antibiotic
- It is very strong and effective antibiotic helps in killing those strains of bacteria gets immunity or resistant to some antibiotics.
- It provides relief from tonsillitis if taken the mixture of boiled garlic in water, a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 tsf of butter.
Relieves Digestive Disorders
- It provides relief from the bloating, constipation and stomach cramps if taken small pieces of garlic swallowed with water.
Benefits of Garlic for Skin
Treats Skin Infections
- It helps in treating skin infections whether it is eaten with food or applied directly to the skin.
Fights Fungal Skin Infections
- It contains a special chemical called ajoene which makes it able to fight with the fungal skin infections such as ringworm, athlete’s foot and etc.
Treats Skin Problems
- Applying garlic extracts on the feet corns (hard skin) and hand warts (skin lump) helps in getting free with these conditions.
Relieves Acne and Spots
- It provides relief from the acne, spots, blemishes, blackheads and etc during teen ageing.
Provides Glowing Skin
- Taking one or two cloves of the raw garlic in the early morning with warm water provide glowing skin.
Prevents from Early Ageing
- It prevents from the early ageing as it is a powerful antioxidant and protects the body from damaging effects of free radicals.
Benefits of Garlic for Heart
Contains Anti-Clotting Property
- It prevents from the blood thinning due to its anti-clotting properties. It contains a compound called ajoene which helps in preventing from the blood clots formation in the blood vessels.
Prevents from Hypertension
- It helps in reducing the high blood pressure to the normal level thus prevents from hypertension.
Reduces Blood Pressure
- It blocks the activity of a protein in the body called angiotensin II (which causes blood vessels contraction and increases blood pressure) as it contains a compound called allicin which reduces blood pressure.
Controls Blood Pressure
- It contains another compound called polysulphides which gets converted into the hydrogen sulphide gas by the RBCs in body and cause blood vessels dilation thus helps in controlling the blood pressure.
Prevents from Cardiovascular Problems
- It provides full protection to the heart as it has ability to prevent from the various cardiovascular problems such as stroke, heart attack, atherosclerosis, hypertension and many more.
Maintains Flexibility of Arteries
- It helps in maintaining the flexibility of the arteries (which gets lose with age) thus prevents heart from problems.
Protects from Free Radicals
- It protects the heart from the harmful effects of free radicals.
Prevents from Atherosclerosis
- It contains various sulphur-containing compounds which helps in preventing the blood vessels from gets blocked thus prevents from atherosclerosis (arteries gets hardened and blocks proper blood supply).
Prevents Plaque Formation
- It has ability to lower down the triglycerides and bad cholesterol level of the blood thus prevents from the plaque formation in the arteries.
Natural Blood Cleanser
- It acts as blood cleanser and clean up the internal systems if taken on regular basis.
Relaxes Blood Vessels
- It stimulates the nitric oxide production in the blood vessel walls which has relaxing effect on the blood vessels thus prevents from the hypertension.
Benefits of Garlic to Combat with Allergies
- Its anti-inflammatory properties make it able to fight against various allergies.
Benefits of Garlic for Bone and Joints Health
Prevents from Bone and Joints Problems
- It has anti-arthritic property as it contains some compounds called diallyl sulphide and thiacremonone which has ability to prevent from the bone and joints problems like arthritis and osteoporosis.
Benefits of Garlic for Diabetes
Regulates Sugar Level
- It enhances the release of insulin in the body thus helps in regulating the proper sugar level in the blood among diabetics.
Benefits of Garlic for Cancer Prevention
Lowers Down Risk of Cancer
- It lowers down the risk of cancer if taken on daily basis as it has anti-cancer properties due to the availability of a compound called diallyl sulphides which inhibits cancer causing agent (PhIP) from getting converted into carcinogens.
Prevents Tumors Growth
- It also prevents the growth and development of the tumors in the body.
Rich Source of Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B6 found in it acts as a cancer fighting agent and prevents from various cancer types such as bladder cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer and etc.
Acts as Anti-Cancerous Agent
- Germanium found in it also acts as an anti-cancerous agent which prevents cancer development.
Prevents from Brain Cancer
- It prevents from the brain cancer as it contains organo-sulfur compounds which help in destroying brain tumor causing glioblastomas cells.
Benefits of Garlic for Women
Prevents from Anemia
- It prevents the occurrence of anemia among women as it improves iron metabolism in the body.
Maintains Blood Hemoglobin Level
- Diallyl sulphides found in garlic enhance ferroportin protein production in the body which helps in the iron absorption and release thus maintains the blood hemoglobin level.
Benefits of Garlic for Men
Stimulates Sexual Desire
- Garlic has aphrodisiac property which makes it able to increase the blood circulation all through the body and stimulates sexual desire among men.
Prevents from Impotency
- It prevents men from impotency (powerlessness).
Benefits of Garlic for Teeth
- It provides instant relief from the toothaches if applied some crushed garlic to the affected tooth because of its antibacterial and analgesic properties.
Benefits of Garlic in Weight Loss
Controls Formation of Fat Cells
- Regular consumption of the garlic controls the formation of fat cells into the body by preventing pre-adipocytes cells conversion to the fatty adipocytes cells thus prevents from weight gain.
- Drinking luke warm lemon juice with two cloves of the raw garlic in the morning and evening regularly with proper exercise provides help in the weight management.
- It boosts up the metabolism rate in the body thus helps in reducing weight very easily.
Benefits of Garlic during Pregnancy
Prevents Mother and Baby from Anemia
- It prevents from the anemia during pregnancy to both mother and baby.
Boosts Baby Growth
- It helps in boosting up the baby weight in the womb.
Prevents from High Blood Pressure
- It prevents from the high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia).
Prevents from Premature Delivery
- It prevents from the premature delivery of baby among pregnant women by preventing from the microbial infections during pregnancy.
Benefits of Garlic for Immunity System
Strengthens Body Immune System
- It boosts up and strengthens the body immune system and improves ability to fight against chest infections, cold, coughs, congestion, flu and etc.
Rich Source of Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C
- Its richness in the vitamin B6 and vitamin C improves the immunity level of the body by enhancing the growth of new cells.
Stimulates Functioning of Immune Cells
- It stimulates the functioning of immune cells such as T-lymphocytes and macrophages thus strengthen the defense system of the body.
Benefits of Garlic Juice
Relieves Persistent Cough
- Taking garlic juice with 2 tsf honey four times a day provides relief from the persistent cough.
- It helps in curing asthma if taken garlic juice (8-10 drops) with 2 tsf of honey.
- Raw garlic juice has ability to provide instant relief from the itching caused by the rashes, bug bites or insect bites if applied on the affected area.
- Applying garlic juice with salt to the affected area of bruising, sprains or ringworms provides fast relief.
Benefits of Garlic Juice for hair
Promotes Hair Growth
- It contains high level of the allicin which enhances hair growth, prevents hair loss if garlic juice is applied directly to the scalp or garlic slice is rubbed on the scalp.
Benefits of Garlic Powder and Pills
Used to Make Capsules
- Crushed garlic powder is packed into the gelatin capsules and called as garlic capsules or pill which provides some health benefits like the whole garlic.
Other Health Benefits of Garlic
Flushes out Body Toxins
- It helps in removing and flushing out the heavy metals having harmful effects on the body (lead, mercury and etc).
Prevents from Hyperthyroidism
- It helps in maintaining the functioning of thyroid glands as it contains high level of the iodine mineral thus prevents from the hyperthyroidism.
- It is a very good and powerful antioxidant as it contains high level of vitamin C thus prevents from the scurvy.
Keeps Demons and Vampires Away
- It is considered that it keeps demons and vampires away.
Remedy to various Problems
- It is a best home remedy to treat hay fever (allergic rhinitis), hemorrhoids and diarrhea.
- It acts as a good mosquito repellent thus keeps mosquito away if applied directly to the skin or kept in the nearby area.
Reduces Risk of Oxidative Stress
- It lowers down the risk of oxidative stress as it contains variety of sulphur containing compounds such as allicin, alliin, allixin, diallyl sulfide, diallyl di and tri sulfide and etc.
Produces Antioxidant Enzymes
- It is a good antioxidant as it contains selenium which enhances the production of antioxidant enzymes.
- It provides relief from the psoriasis and makes skin smooth.
- It is a good detoxifier stimulates liver to release more toxins from the body.
Benefits of Garlic Oil
- Normal garlic oil provides immediate relief from the earache if two or three drops of the warm garlic oil is inserted to the affected ear.
Relieves Symptom of Cold
- It provides instant relief from the symptom of cold during winter if garlic oil is massaged to the chest and lower side of the feet. Boil the mixture of garlic slices, ajwain and asafoetida into the mustard oil to prepare garlic oil.
Benefits of Raw Garlic
Destroys Free Radicals
- Raw garlic is packed with the Allin which has more ability to destroy free radicals and cancer prevention properties.
Benefits of Green Garlic Leaves
- Green garlic leaves are mostly used by the Indian people as a spice or vegetable to add it in the curries, soup, chatni or other vegetables to bring some extra taste and look. It can be used to add in the curries by making the paste of it or very small pieces of the garlic leaves can be added to the vegetables.
Nutritional Benefits of Raw Garlic/Lehsun per 100 g
(Source: USDA Nutrient Database)
Energy: 149 kcal
Carbohydrate: 33.06 g
Sugar: 1 g
Dietary fibers: 2.1 g
Fat: 0.5 g
Protein: 6.36 g
Thiamine: 0.2 mg
Riboflavin: 0.11 mg
Niacin: 0.7 mg
Pantothenic acid: 0.596 mg
Vitamin B6: 1.235 mg
Folate: 3 μg
Vitamin C: 31.2 mg
Potassium: 401 mg
Sodium: 17 mg
Calcium: 181 mg
Iron: 1.7 mg
Magnesium: 25 mg
Manganese: 1.672 mg
Phosphorus: 153 mg
Zinc: 1.16 mg
Selenium: 14.2 μg
How to Enjoy Garlic
Garlic or Lehsun can be enjoyed in many ways such raw, cooked, garlic bread, pickle, sauce, soup, powdered garlic, pills or oil. It can be cooked with many dishes to enhance the taste and nutritional value. It can be taken raw with water or honey depends on the purpose taken for. It can be sprinkled on salad, pasta or other dishes.
How to Select and Store garlic
Always buy fresh garlic from the market. Select garlic having hard texture, intact skin, tightly packed in bulb and bright colored. Avoid buying garlic with bruised skin, sprouted, dark colored, smelling bad, old, separated from bulb and etc. It can be stored for long at room temperature in an open environment, cool and dark place. It should be stored away from the direct exposure to the heat and sunlight to get prevented from sprouting and spoiling.
Disadvantages, Side Effects and Precautions of Garlic
In spite of having lots of health benefits, garlic has various disadvantages and side effects which need some precautions while eating raw or cooked. Some of the disadvantages, side effects and precautions are mentioned below:
- It should be avoided by the patients with heart problems or they must take medical advice while adding to the daily diet.
- It is also avoided after any surgery as it may disturb the anticoagulants functioning and induce bleeding.
- People with any medication must consult their doctor before eating raw garlic as it may be harmful for health in combination with some medicines.
- It is also avoided by the asthmatic patients as it worsens the condition.
- Some people are hypersensitive to the garlic and develop allergic symptoms like skin rashes, fever, headache, heartburn, flatulence and etc.
- Be careful before using raw garlic directly on the skin as it may cause damage to the sensitive and delicate skin.
- It may cause burning sensation, nausea, heartburn, bloating, gas, vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal tract irritation and other digestion problems when taken in high amount.
- It should be used very safely during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
- Eating raw garlic should be avoided by the children.
How Many Garlic Cloves a Day
Eating raw or cooked garlic on daily basis depends on the age, sex, weight and health condition of the person. However it should be avoided taking more than two or three raw garlic cloves a day as it may cause blood thinning and other serious ailments. This article is written only for the information purpose, you must consult your physician before adding it to daily habit.
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