5 Reasons Garlic is Great for Your Health

Sometimes called “Nectar of the Gods,” garlic tastes great and is great for you, too. Used to treat everything from high blood pressure to the common cold, garlic does so much more than add flavor to your food.

Here are my top 5 reasons to love garlic:

1. It lowers cholesterol. 

Garlic inhibits the same enzyme that statins do, without all the side effects. 

It’s also an antioxidant and helps reduce atherosclerosis by preventing oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or the “bad” form of cholesterol.

2. It protects again cancer. 

Garlic is especially good at warding off stomach and colorectal cancers, which affect approximately 164,000 Americans each year and are among the top ten causes of cancer deaths. 

In people with pre-cancerous growths known as adenomas, garlic may decrease their size and number. Garlic also reduces the risk of hematological cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. Garlic is thought to increase immune system activity, making it more likely to detect and fight tumors.
3. Garlic lowers blood pressure. 

It works on the smooth muscles of the arteries and causes them to relax and dilate, thereby lowering one’s blood pressure.
4. It can help prevent blood clots

Garlic also works as a blood thinner or anti-thrombotic, thereby preventing blood clots in patients at risk for clots. For this reason, people already on anti-thrombotic therapy should speak to their doctors before taking garlic therapeutically. (Eating it is safe.)

5. It’s a cure for the common cold. 

Garlic is anti-microbial, due to a component known as allicin, making it safe for treatment of infections like the common cold. In fact, it’s often the only treatment I seek when a bug is going around the office. Simply mince a clove, mix with some olive oil (or chili pepper oil if you’re adventurous) and spread on bread or over veggies.

Some tips for your garlic intake:
  • Crush raw garlic and allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes before eating. 
  • Whenever possible, eat it raw. The compounds that make garlic most effective, allicin and ajoene, can be destroyed by heating. 
  • Eat it often, at least daily, if not multiple times per day.
  • If you really like garlic like I do, try juicing it with your mixed veggies. 
  • Or better yet, make my garlic tea: simply crush a few cloves, allow them to steep in hot water for 15 minutes, add a small amount of honey and sip away!
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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About the Author

Dr. Colleen Amann is a board certified naturopathic physician practicing primary care in Portland, OR. While her passion is integrated aesthetic and anti-aging medicine, she works with patients of all ages to treat a wide variety of ailments including chronic pain, hormonal imbalances, allergies, digestive disorders and cardiopulmonary disorders.

Dr. Colleen believes that true healing comes from addressing a person’s entire well-being: physical, mental and spiritual.She is committed to helping her patients achieve true wellness by combining cutting-edge conventional medical technology with the time-tested traditions of naturopathic medicine. For more information visit her Facebook, jaderiverpdx.com or lbuspa.com.