I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t like garlic. Garlic is basically extra deliciousness to add to anything you want to be delicious. Kale feels a little bland? Add some garlic and bam, it’s amazing.
Most people use garlic because of that property (the deliciousness). However, what many don’t know is that garlic is VERY good for you. It is a member of the aliums (onion family), which have shown several benefits for our health and functional medicine.
So, here’s why I throw garlic (or any of the aliums, including onions, shallots, leeks, chives…) on everything:
- Garlic supplementation is known to boost the function of the immune system. One large 12-week study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with placebo
- It may be able to reduce blood pressure. Human studies have found garlic supplementation to have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
- Garlic might lower Total and LDL cholesterol. For those with high cholesterol, garlic supplementation appears to reduce total and/or LDL cholesterol by about 10-15%.
- Garlic contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage and aging, thus preventing several chronic diseases.
I will say, that like any nutrition claims about a particular food or supplement, it is very important to think about how their benefits work and if it’s been proven in humans. Note that these effects are shown via garlic supplementation (high doses of garlic in capsule form), however, if you dive into the research, you’ll find that they’re due to compounds in garlic that can be broken down in processing. So, since making supplements requires quite a bit of processing, it’s hard to find a brand to trust that maintains the compounds. That’s why I recommend using real garlic cloves in cooking rather than supplementation or buying crushed garlic. Garlic salt and garlic powder also likely do not hold the same benefits.
Photos by Tania Arceo