Garlic - Health benefits

Garlic scientifically referred as Allium sativum, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. Garlic has been in human use over 7,000 years. Being native to central Asia, has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe.Since the ancient times, it has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Garlic can magically transform simple spring ingredients into dishes that are fragrant, irresistible and layered with flavor.

Scientific nameAllium sativum
Largest Producers: China, Indian, south Korea

Garlic contains high levels of manganese, calcium, vitamin B1, B6 and C, phosphorous, copper, potassium, selenium and tryptophan. With all this going for it, garlic boosts the immune system. As per USDA (United States Department of Agriculture),

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy623 kJ (149 kcal)
Carbohydrates33.06 g
Sugars1 g
Dietary fiber2.1 g
Fat0.5 g
Protein6.36 g
Thiamine (vit. B1)0.2 mg (17%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)0.11 mg (9%)
Niacin (vit. B3)0.7 mg (5%)
Pantothenic acid (B5)0.596 mg (12%)
Vitamin B61.235 mg (95%)
Folate (vit. B9)3 μg (1%)
Vitamin C31.2 mg (38%)
Calcium181 mg (18%)
Iron1.7 mg (13%)
Magnesium25 mg (7%)
Manganese1.672 mg (80%)
Phosphorus153 mg (22%)
Potassium401 mg (9%)
Sodium17 mg (1%)
Zinc1.16 mg (12%)
Selenium14.2 μg
Link to USDA Database entry

  1. Heart Smart:- Garlic can lower cholesterol and prevent blood clots, but it is really good at fighting high blood pressure. Here is how researches think it might work: Garlic breaks down in the body into compounds that contain sulfur which triggers blood vessels to release Hydrogen Sulfide. This helps blood vessels relax and widen keeping blood pressure down.
  2. Diabetes Control: -One recent study found that people who took a garlic supplement with their diabetes medication had better control over blood sugar levels. Bonus news is that their cholesterol and triglyceride level improved too.
  3. Antioxidant:-The antioxidants destroy free radicals and reduce overall oxidative stress. Free radicals can damage DNA and cell membranes. High levels of oxidative stress have been associated with many diseases and conditions. Antioxidants are also beneficial for preventing types of cancer.
  4. Cold comfort:- Garlic may boost the body's ability to fight colds. Some studies have found that people taking garlic supplements get less severe cold.
  5. Anti inflammatory: - A popular cold sore home remedy involves holding a bit of crushed garlic directly on the cold sore. Its natural anti-inflammatory properties could help reduce pain and swelling. Garlic supplements may also speed up the healing process, according to It could be useful in relieving uncomfortable psoriasis outbreaks also. Try rubbing a little garlic oil on the affected area for smooth, rash-free skin.
  6. Weight control:- Garlic could help you control your weight, according to nutritionist Cynthia Sass, who cites a study that showed mice eating a garlic-rich diet reduced their weight and fat stores. Try to cook with garlic daily for tasty and waist-friendly meals.
  7. Cancer Preventer:- Increased intake of garlic has been found to be associated with the reduced risk of certain cancers. This includes cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast.
  8. Patience rewarded:- While cutting a garlic clove,its cells are broken to release stored enzymes that react with oxygen. This process triggers healthy sulfide compound such as allicin ( cureinfections in minor cuts and bruises on your skin)  to form. Letting the chopped garlic stand for 10-15 min before cooking allows the compound to be fully developed before heat inactivating the enzymes.

The more you damage garlic's cell walls the more sulfide is formed with more pungent flavor.

Cook's Tip:-
Crushed cloves taste harsher while sliced and coarsely chopped ones taste milder. Mashing minced garlic with a pinch of coarse salt helps tame the harsh flavor.


A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


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