The list of health benefits just seems to grow and grow. From preventing heart disease and cancer to fighting off infections, researchers are finding encouraging results with garlic. The chief health-promoting "ingredients" in garlic are allicin and diallyl sulfide (sulfur-containing compounds). Although allicin is destroyed in cooking, cooked garlic still contains the powerful antioxidants C and E, and the mineral selenium. Crushing, chopping, or chewing garlic helps release enzymes (allicin and diallyl sulfide) that trigger many of its beneficial actions which can include:
Improve Cholesterol Levels: Garlic has been found to lower levels of LDL cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol, as well as raise HDL (good cholesterol) in the short term. Its effects last about three months when taken daily. It may also help to dissolve clots that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Even when cooked, garlic helps keep cholesterol in your bloodstream from oxidizing and damaging the lining of your blood vessels, which helps prevent the formation of plaque.
Antimicrobial: Garlic has also been found to inhibit the growth of, or even kill, several kinds of bacteria, including Staphylococcus and Salmonella, as well as many fungi and yeast. Animal studies have found that garlic helps prevent colon, lung, and esophageal cancers. How much is enough? Researchers suggest you can enjoy the benefits of garlic every day by eating a typical clove weighing 3 grams.
Hormone Balance: Garlic and other foods in the allium family (onions, leeks, chives, shallots, and scallions) work to stimulate the production of glutathione, an antioxidant that is especially important in the liver, where it helps remove hormone-disrupting chemicals. Preliminary research suggests that garlic may boost testosterone, giving you more energy.
Treats Diabetes: Garlic appears to be frequently used as an alterative medicine for the treatment of diabetes. Onions (which are in the same family) have anthocyanins, effective free-radical destroyers that might also help combat obesity and diabetes.
Garlic & Weight Loss
Increases Thermogenesis: Garlic’s constituents are able to stimulate the secretion of noradrenaline, and this increased secretion of noradrenaline works on the β-adrenergic receptors of brown adipose tissue to increase thermogenesis (heat production). In vitro, garlic components also appear to suppress lipogenesis (fat accumulation) and reduce the proliferation of fat cells.
Increases Brown Fat: The difference between brown fat and white fat is that brown fat cells contain mitochondria (which produce energy), these actually help and promote fat burning. Kids have lots of brown fat cells throughout their bodies (this is why they never seem to be as cold as adults!). In adults, brown fat is generally located in smaller amounts around the neck and upper chest/back.
In research animals, garlic supplementation has shown to stimulate the production of brown fat (over the course of just 28 days!). Brown fat tissue in rodents given garlic extracts tend to have higher mitochondrial content than do controls. So there appears to be an increase in the overall quantity of brown fat in rats that are fed garlic, this suggests that it may also apply to human in the same way.
Increase Adiponectin: Aged Garlic Extract administration for 12 weeks increases adiponectin levels. Adiponectin (a hormone produced in and sent out from your fat cells) can decrease inflammation, boost your metabolism and fuel overall fat loss when high levels of it are maintained in the body. Even though it’s made by fat cells, adiponectin actually helps us lose fat by improving how our body processes glucose and insulin from the food we eat.
The best type of supplement to buy is 'Aged Garlic Extract'. Aging garlic for 20 months has the benefit of making the garlic supplement odorless. The major brand name for aged garlic extract is 'Kyolic'. If you can’t find these, regular garlic supplements appear to yield the same results when taken at higher doses.
If you’re eating fresh garlic, chop it up and leave it to oxidize for several minutes before adding it to your food or swallowing it like a pill – this oxidation process is what lets the active ingredients out.
When it comes to weight loss, garlic appears to be a miracle food. Once you learn to appreciate its pungency, most anything tastes better with garlic. And once you learn its possible health benefits, you may learn to love it.