The various health benefits of garlic
- Garlic can improve blood lipids and help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke — Garlic can help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides, mostly by inhibiting the key enzyme that the liver uses to make cholesterol. The plant can also reduce the chance of blood lipids causing atherosclerosis and heart disease by raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and reducing the oxidation of the LDL that makes it form into deposits in the arteries.
- Garlic can improve blood sugar in diabetics — Diabetics have chronically high blood sugar, and this can cause damage to the blood vessels. With high blood sugar, diabetics are at risk of suffering from various health problems like blindness, heart attack, kidney failure, and more. Lowering blood sugar helps reduce this damage, and some patients take the common oral drug metformin. Garlic is a better option because it’s a natural remedy with no harmful side effects. (Related: Fruits and vegetables to store in your root cellar.)
- Garlic can lower blood pressure — High blood pressure (hypertension) causes added stress on the blood vessels. In time hypertension can lead to severe heart conditions like atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke. Hypertension can even directly damage the vessels, resulting in blindness and kidney failure. Hypertension, also known as the “silent killer,” is also exacerbated by stress. Thankfully, garlic can help treat hypertension by lowering systolic blood pressure, or the amount of pressure in the arteries during the contraction of the heart muscle.
Research on the health benefits of garlic
Some studies have shown that garlic contains certain compounds with potent anti-tumor actions in cell culture and animal tests. But does that mean that the herb, whether as a food or as a supplement, has strong anti-cancer properties?
There are also reports suggesting that garlic can strengthen immune function. Garlic can boost the activities of certain immune cells while there are some garlic compounds that can simulate compounds which the immune system needs to communicate with its different parts.
Research also suggests that there are compounds in garlic that can halt microbial growth. These compounds work on microbes that attack plants and some that may attack humans. This implies that garlic can indeed boost the immune system. But it’s tricky to determine if these effects are reliable since they aren’t triggered 100 percent of the time.
For example, culture tests were promising but eating garlic didn’t have any effect on women with fungal vaginal infections.
Regardless of these unconfirmed garlic health benefits, the vegetable can still effectively improve blood lipid, blood pressure, and blood sugar. If consumed regularly, garlic can help more than half of Americans older than 50, along with over 30 percent of adults in general.
Even if results vary when it comes to these health benefits, the studies on garlic and its effects produced statistically significant results despite the small sample sizes and good placebo controls. This indicates that garlic is indeed as potent as its reputation suggests.
When SHTF, every prepper may do well to cultivate garlic in their gardens and store some garlic bulbs in their food stockpile.