Is Garlic The New Coconut Oil?
For years, coconut oil has been front and center in the health and wellness community. It can be used for almost anything; from cooking at high heats, to removing makeup, to fighting candida in the GI tract, it always seems to steal the show when it comes to versatile natural ingredients.
But lately, we've been hearing a lot of chatter about garlic. People are praising it's dynamic healing properties, and while our love for coconut oil runs deep, we are always looking for new, simple ways to use natural ingredients for optimal health. And so, although it pains us to say it: coconut oil, it seems you have some competition.
Like coconut oil, garlic has potent healing properties.
Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years and the Egyptians, Greeks, Japanese, and Native Americans all took advantage of the powerful healing properties of this edible bulb. But to what does garlic owe its fame? Garlic has a high concentration of organosulfur compounds, which are responsible for its extremely strong smell and the flavor we love.
Garlic can be used to fight infections, of all kinds.
One of the most common reasons to praise garlic is for its antimicrobial properties. One study showed that garlic was 100x more effective at fighting Campylobacter bacterium (one of the most common causes of intestinal illness) than two of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics. This makes it a serious contender for the future of antibacterials and new methods for cleaning kitchen surfaces.
Much like coconut oil, garlic exhibits strong anti-fungal properties and can be useful for fighting yeast overgrowth, or candida, in the gut. Research also demonstrates garlic's success in fighting drug-resistant E.Coli, human intestinal parasites, and common viruses. And if you thought that was all, garlic is an potent antioxidant and also combats inflammation in the body by inhibiting inflammatory enzymes and signaling molecules—we can feel our respect for this incredible plant growing by the minute.
Coming down with a cold? Grab the garlic.
Scientists are particularly interested in garlic's ability to prevent disease, including seasonal colds. Some studies1 have suggested that consuming garlic can help prevent the common cold, and many naturopathic doctors and holistic health practitioners recommend chopping up garlic and consuming it raw as soon as you feel yourself getting sick.
Garlic can fight diseases like cancer and hypertension.
Garlic and its high level of organosulfur compounds can work wonders on cardiovascular health. Specifically, it can help lower cholesterol by inhibiting enzymes responsible for cholesterol synthesis in the liver. And thats not all, consuming garlic can be effective2 at lowering blood pressure, preventing atherosclerosis, reducing triglyceride activity, and inhibiting platelet aggregation—all of which are major contributing factors to heart health.
Consumption of garlic in certain areas of the world is correlated3 to lower incidence of a variety of cancers (especially gastric and colorectal cancers) and this might not be a coincidence; garlic itself demonstrates anti-cancer activity by acting like an antioxidant and inhibiting tumor cell growth4. In animals studies5 garlic has also been shown to reduce blood sugar dysfunction and is frequently suggested as a possible natural remedy for diabetes.
You can incorporate garlic into your beauty routine.
By now accepting the possibility of smelling like garlic all the time because it's uses and benefit's extend even further than we imagined. Many people suggest it as a thickening hair treatment with some scientific studies even suggesting garlic as a great complementary treatment for hair loss related to conditions like alopecia.
Some people even use garlic for an acne spot treatment which makes sense, considering its strong antimicrobial properties. Because of garlic's ability to work as an anti-fungal, it's often suggested as a home remedy for athletes foot and dandruff which can both be caused by fungus. And although there isn't any research, people praise garlic for its anti-aging properties, ability to remove stretch marks, and as a treatment for cold sores and even brittle nails. It's worth a try, right?
Garlic is convenient and won't break the bank.
Knowing all of this, it's easy to feel like the potential of garlic is endless, and we haven't even reached the best part yet. You can normally buy a head of garlic (about 10 cloves) for less than a dollar. Yes—you heard that correctly. Aside from being a delicious addition to most recipes, its low cost is definitely a selling point and a welcome relief in a world where staying healthy can sometimes be pricey.
You can also find garlic as a powder, in capsules, or in the form of garlic oil. Much like coconut oil, garlic seems to be a cure-all for a ton of common ailments and natural beauty booster. They are both a breeze to incorporate into almost any meal and inexpensive, making them two of our favorite natural ingredients always keep on-hand.
Gretchen Lidicker is an mbg health contributor, content strategist, and the author of CBD Oil Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Hemp-Derived Health and Wellness and Magnesium Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Epsom Salts, Magnesium Oil, and Nature's Relaxation Mineral. She holds a B.S. in biology and earned her master’s degree in physiology with a concentration in complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University.