Forget about bad breath — it’s time to add garlic to your cooking routine.
Yes, it can serve as one-of-a-kind flavor booster (and powerful vampire repellent), but it offers so many health benefits that often go overlooked.
National Garlic Day (April 19) is upon us, so what better time to give garlic a little more attention? Here are seven reasons why you should consider eating garlic on a regular basis.
1. Clear Your Acne Breakouts
You may have heard that skin problems such as acne are triggered from within your body. Some experts say that it’s a good idea to rub your blemishes with garlic cloves to reduce the appearance of breakouts, but just by consuming garlic regularly, you can tackle the root cause of acne.
Garlic has clinically proven abilities to purify your blood. It is also one of the most potent antioxidants out there, so that doubles its acne-killing properties.
2. Shed Extra Pounds
Let me be clear: I’m not saying that you should cancel your gym membership or throw away your running shoes, but garlic may help you control weight. Several studies agree that eating a garlic-rich diet helps you shed pounds. Garlic consumption increases your body’s “thermogenesis,” which increases your resting metabolic rate. In other words, eating garlic causes your body to burn more calories while you’re resting — not a bad side effect!
3. Avoid a Cold or the Flu
If you suffer from regular colds and flu, it’s time to ramp up your garlic consumption. Research has shown that eating more garlic can effectively keep those stubborn sicknesses at bay thanks to garlic’s proven ability to boost your immune system.
In fact, just by eating 2-3 cloves of raw or cooked garlic per day during sickness, you can substantially reduce the number of days you will be sick with cold or flu. Garlic is preventative medicine and a remedy during times you are feeling under the weather.
4. Reduce Your Chance of Heart Disease
Garlic is known to lower cholesterol levels due to its rich content of allicin. This proves vital for preventing heart disease, therefore garlic has been hailed as a amazing heart defender.
Keep in mind that allicin loses its antioxidant and medicinal properties when cooked. So if your goal is to lower cholesterol levels, eat garlic raw or semi-cooked.
5. Battle Bacteria and Parasites
Garlic can serve as a natural alternative to antibiotics to get rid of bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections. Even better, unlike antibiotics, garlic does not lead to more resistant bacteria — it just keeps on fighting for your health.
How can you take advantage of this garlic superpower? Well, with a garlic-based mouthwash, of course! Mixing some garlic, onion, mint tea, and water will do the trick. Here’s the recipe.
So, a garlic mouthwash keeps you healthy by killing bacteria, but it leaves you with bad breath, which ironically is caused by, well, bacteria!
6. Enhance Your Athletic Performance
Garlic will make you a better athlete? Really? I didn’t believe this until I studied the research.
Studies have shown that regular consumption of garlic improves athletic performance by enhancing aerobic capacity, which allows you to train harder and perform at a higher level in cardio-based sports.
Even more, garlic has also been associated with reducing exercise-induced fatigue and can reduce peak heart rate during workouts. Again, eat a little garlic and life just keeps getting better.
7. Live Longer
As if the above-mentioned health benefits aren’t enough for you to rush to the nearest grocery store to grab some garlic, here’s the real kicker: Garlic can help you live longer! Regular consumption of garlic has a positive effect on longevity due to its ability to reduce blood pressure and boost immune system.
BONUS: A garlic recipe you have to try
Did reading about the health benefits of garlic put you in the mood for some garlicky food on National Garlic Day? Here’s a recipe you have to try:
Serves: 4 servings
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 handful of fresh rosemary or 1 tbsp dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- A sprinkle of chili flakes to taste
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 100g almonds (approximately 4 ounces)
- Mix garlic, rosemary, salt and chili flakes in a small bowl; set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add the almonds onto the skillet and stir until they start to brown.
- Take the skillet off the heat and add the spice mix to the almonds, stirring thoroughly;
- Keep the garlic-covered almonds in the skillet (no heat) for a few minutes to cook and absorb the flavors.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy garlic? —Dave Smith