Garlic is a herb grown throughout the world. It belongs to the genus Allium and is closely related to onion, chives and leek. It is widely used for flavouring in cooking, and has medicinal properties as well.
Garlic produces chemical allicin that gives it a strong smell. It contains a large number of cloves with an average height and diameter of 2 inches. The cloves and the bulb are covered with a paper-like sheath. It has a very pungent taste and adds a nutty flavour to the food.
There are different types of garlic:
- Softneck garlic: This is the most common type of garlic with soft skin and creamy white colour, often found in the market.
- Silver garlic: It has a pink tint on its outer sheath and has a very pungent aroma.
- Artichoke garlic: It has large and fewer cloves with a mild flavour.
- Hardneck garlic: It has a hard, woody stalk with a purple outer sheath.
Garlic grows mainly under low temperatures. It grows best in temperate climates with well-drained loamy soil. They are planted in the months of August to November and harvested within 4 to 5 months and the bulbs are then dried to increase their shelf life.
Let us have a detailed look at the benefits of garlic.
Also Read: Food Preservation
Important Benefits of Garlic
Garlic has the following important benefits:
Helps in Stabilizing Blood Pressure
It contains a bioactive sulphur compound, S-allylcysteine, which is responsible for lowering blood pressure. The deficiency of sulphur results in high blood pressure. Organosulfur compounds can help stabilize blood pressure.
Helps Lower Cholesterol
The extract of aged garlic can help lower cholesterol by 10%. Research was carried out on rats and it was found that garlic inhibited the synthesis of cholesterol in the rat liver cells.
Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Garlic prevents cardiovascular diseases by lowering lipids and bad cholesterol. It is largely effective against atherosclerosis.
May Improve Bone Health
Garlic is beneficial against osteoporosis and arthritis. Research was carried out on lab rats where they were supplemented with garlic oil. It was observed that garlic oil could suppress ovariectomy-induced bone resorption.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Raw garlic reduces blood glucose levels in the body. An experiment conducted on lab animals proved that boiled and raw garlic can decrease blood sugar levels in the body.
Relieves Intestinal Ailments
Garlic has an antibacterial effect on enterobacteria. It is also active against H.pylori infections.
Detoxifies Heavy Metals in the Body
The sulphur compounds present in garlic protect the body against heavy metal toxicity. The employees of a car battery plant were treated with garlic for four weeks. It was observed that the lead levels in their blood were reduced by 19%. It is more effective than the drug D-penicillamine in reducing the symptoms.
Strengthens the Immune System
The antioxidants present in garlic eliminate toxins and reduce oxidative stress in the body. This boosts immunity and prevents us from falling sick. It also helps to increase different types of immune cells in the body.
Garlic is commonly used to treat conditions related to the heart and blood system. It has been used as medicine for centuries because of its antibiotic properties. It is believed to have originated in Siberia and later on spread throughout the world. It is added to foods and beverages as garlic powder, oil, or fresh form for flavours.
Also Read: Food Poisoning
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