20 Impressive Benefits Of Garlic For Skin, Hair And Health
Garlic is a staple in many cuisines worldwide, and for good reason. Raw garlic has a spicy flavor, but once cooked, it has a sweet and nutty flavor. Cooked garlic is savory and undeniably delicious, and adds depth and dimension to any dish. It perks up our taste buds and makes everything taste better.
But the benefits of using garlic in our food go beyond its deliciousness. The tiny herb has been used as a medicine for 1000s of years. Famous Greek physician Hippocrates, widely known as the founder of modern medicine, recommended garlic for many ailments, such as respiratory problems, poor digestion, fatigue, and more. If you want to understand more, these are the 20 impressive benefits of garlic for skin, hair, and health.
1. Reduce Acne
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when the pores are clogged by excess oil and skin debris. There are many causes of acne, and one of them is too much bacteria living on the skin. These bacteria do not cause harm, but when there is excess sebum, there is an overgrowth, which leads to acne.
This is where garlic comes in. Allicin, a sulfur compound in garlic, has powerful antimicrobial properties which kill these bacteria. The active compound also reduces swelling and inflammation, and improves blood circulation, both of which help our skin receive more nutrients. With enough nutrients, the skin can heal itself.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease. Our immune system attacks foreign invaders to protect itself from harm. However, sometimes, it mistakes healthy cells as foreign invaders and attacks them, causing diseases like psoriasis. Psoriasis causes the skin on our scalp, knees, and elbows to be itchy, scaly and inflamed.
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, but there are natural remedies like applying raw garlic to infected areas. The antiseptic properties of garlic have been shown to reduce oxidative stress, a cause of psoriasis. Additionally, garlic contains allicin, zinc, and selenium, which can reduce oxidative stress.
3. Slows Down Aging
As we age, our skin becomes thinner, translucent, and pale. It also loses elasticity and causes wrinkles and fine lines. These visible sign of aging is known as photoaging, caused by repeated UV damage and natural aging. Both of these increase free radicals, atoms that damage our cells.
You can fight these free radicals with skincare that contains antioxidants. You can also do it naturally by consuming food with antioxidants like garlic. Garlic contains antioxidants like allicin that neutralize these free radicals and prevent them from causing harm to the skin.
4. Treat Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal skin infection. It occurs when our feet become sweaty in tight shoes for an extended period. You can also contact it if you share towels or walk barefoot on contaminated floors. It includes itchy and scaly rashes on your feet, soles, and heels. It produces an unpleasant odor as well.
Doctors usually recommend antifungal creams and ointments that have similar properties to garlic. Ajoene, a compound found in garlic, has antifungal properties that can control the symptoms of this skin infection. People looking for home remedies should soak their feet in water mixed with garlic cloves for 30 minutes.
5. Relieve Cold Sores
Ever wondered what the blisters around your lips and mouths are? The blisters do not hurt, but it ooze slightly yellow fluid and form a crust, which is not a pretty sight. These blisters are known as cold sores caused by hormonal changes, fatigue, cold/flu, and stress.
So, how does garlic play into all this? The antibacterial and antifungal property inhibits the growth of herpes simplex virus 1, the virus that causes cold sores. There are numerous remedies on the internet that involve smearing raw garlic paste on the cold sores.
6. Prevent Hair Loss
Hair loss affects everyone these days. External factors like pollution and chemical treatments and internal factors like poor diet and stress results in hair loss. Thankfully, garlic has properties that could help combat hair loss.The tiny herb is rich in sulfur, vitamins B6 and C, manganese, and selenium, all of which are essential for healthy hair. These nutrients prevent hair loss by nourishing the hair follicles and strengthening the hair shaft.
Additionally, garlic has antibacterial and antifungal properties that kill bacteria and fight germs. Germs and bacteria causes scalp infections and dandruff, which in turn causes hairloss.
7. Anti-Cancer Properties
Many things cause cancer, but at its core, abnormal cells cause it. Our body contains millions of cells. These cells multiply and die like they are supposed to, but when they multiply uncontrollably and do not die, it becomes a cancer causing tumor. These abnormal cells produce more of such cells, which causes cancer.
Foods like garlic contain numerous phytochemical that play a role in lowering risk of many cancers. According to science backed evidence, the sulfur compounds in the herb have shown to suppress the growth of cancer and kill of cancer cells.
8. Improves Iron And Zinc Absorption
Zinc and iron are minerals that ensure the proper functioning of various biological processes. Zinc fights off infection, promotes wound healing, and is responsible for the sense of taste and smell. Meanwhile, iron is used to make red blood cells, which carry blood and oxygen throughout the body. As a result, people rely on food and supplements to increase iron and zinc levels.
However, consuming foods high in iron and zinc is not enough. Our body must be able to absorb it for usage. Fortunately, garlic contains sulfur that positively influences the absorption rate of both iron and zinc.
9. Maintain Oral Health
Our oral health is important because it is a window to our overall health. Our oral health can affect the rest of our body and vice versa. For example, if bacteria or other germs from our mouth spread to the heart, we are at risk of Endocarditis, the inflammation of the linings in our heart valves.
Therefore, we need to ensure our teeth and gums are healthy. One way to do this is to rely on garlic’s antibacterial properties. These properties help fight bacteria, which lowers the risk of cavities and other mouth infections. It also inhibits the growth of bacteria.
10. Manage Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease when the body cannot produce insulin or use insulin effectively. Our body digests the food we eat into glucose, which is released into the bloodstream. The insulin allows glucose to be used by the body for energy. People with diabetes have high sugar levels because they cannot use it properly.
If diabetics do not control their sugar levels, it can lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease. These patients can regulate their sugar levels by eating food like garlic. Garlic contains compounds that lower blood sugar levels, according to an analysis by the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
11. Prevent Heavy Metal Poisoning
Our body contains certain heavy metal elements found naturally on Earth. Metals like zinc, magnesium, and iron are necessary for the body. However, not all metals, like arsenic, mercury, and lead benefit the body. These metals are in some of the food and medicine we eat and the polluted air we breathe. When our body absorbs too much of this harmful metal, it can lead to heavy metal poisoning.
Excessive metal can damage vital organs in our body, which is why our body needs to detoxify. Allicin in garlic has been shown to reduce harmful metals like lead in our bodies. Experts claim it does a better job than d-penicillamine, a drug used to treat heavy metal poisoning.
12. Prevent Blood Clot
Blood clots are solid masses of blood that occurs when blood turns from liquid to solid. It can help control bleeding whenever we cut ourselves, but it becomes a problem when the blood clot is formed abnormally, breaks off, and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism is treatable if the clot is small, but if it is too large, it can lead to death.
Garlic contains ajoene, a derivative of sulfur that has anti-blood clotting properties. A study by the Journal of Postgraduate Medicine concluded garlic was effective in reducing blood clots after asking participants to consume 10 mg of raw garlic every day before breakfast for two months.
13. Improve Bone Health
Garlic also helps improve bone health, especially among women who have menopause. On average, menopausal women lose up to 10% of their bone mass in the first five years of menopause. This increases their risk of osteoporosis, a progressive condition in which bones become weak and results in fracture and break.
The active compounds in garlic increase estrogen levels, a hormone responsible for many things, including bone health. Research conducted by Electron Physician studied the effects of garlic on bone health. They discovered that participants who took garlic tablets equal to about 2 grams of fresh garlic per day experienced lower oxidative stress, a cause of osteoporosis.
14. Helps With Weight Loss
Our body contains adipose cells and tissues. Their primary function is to store fat, which is released as energy when needed, and provide insulation. However, when there are too many adipose cells and tissue, it can lead to obesity, which is associated with chronic inflammation. Another cause of weight gain and obesity is long-term inflammation.
Garlic helps control inflammation, which helps with weight management. It also contains an active compound called allicin that inhibits the formation of adipose cells and tissues and reduces bad cholesterol. This is why garlic is said to be effective for weight loss.
15. Combat Allergies
A lesser-known benefit of garlic is combating allergies. Allergies occur when our immune system is overwhelmed by foreign airborne particles such as pollen, pet dander, or dust. This sometimes leads to difficulty breathing, stuffy noses, sneezing, and rashes. The foreign substances are treated as a threat and release histamine to prevent them from causing harm.
Garlic contains a polyphenol called Quercetin, which has antihistamine properties that provide allergy relief. The herb has been shown to reduce the severity of allergy symptoms like allergic rhinitis. Experts even recommend applying raw garlic juice to help with the itching from rashes and bug bites.
16. Lower Cholesterol
Cholesterol is not bad for our body, and we need it to carry out certain functions. Problems arise when there are too many low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Excess LDL mixes with other substances and gets deposited in the walls of our blood vessels, and this can increase the risk of chronic heart diseases.
Garlic helps lower cholesterol. In 2018, peer reviewed journal, Medicine (Baltimore) studied the effects of garlic on cholesterol and LDL levels, two risk factors for heart disease. The researchers discovered that garlic could lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. They recommended people with high cholesterol eat more garlic.
17. Improve Digestion
As we get older, our digestive system changes. It does not work as efficiently and effectively as it should. Our digestive muscles are weaker, and our cells get damaged and do not form as quickly as they should. As a result, we experience digestive issues. In fact, 60 to 70 million American adults have digestive diseases.
Luckily, we can combat the early onset of these diseases by consuming beneficial foods like garlic. The prebiotic properties of garlic help good bacteria in the stomach thrive, leading to better digestion. Additionally, garlic's antibacterial properties can eliminate harmful bacteria that cause food poisoning and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
18. Boost Immunity System
It is widely believed that garlic boosts our immune system and keeps us strong, healthy and happy. Our immune system defends our body against foreign bacteria and helps us fight infections and illnesses. The little herb contains sulfur and antioxidants that rid our body of toxins and reduce oxidative stress. The toxins and oxidative stress disrupt cell functions and make us sick.
A study by The Journal of Nutrition discovered that aged garlic extract reduced the severity of colds and flu among participants and enhanced their immunity systems. The group that consumed the garlic extract for 90 days experienced increased immune cell activity as compared to the placebo group.
19. Prevent Keratitis
Keratitis is an eye condition where the cornea is inflamed and irritated. The symptoms are painful, itchy, watery and bloodshot eyes. When left untreated for too long, it can cause corneal scarring and eventually lead to blindness. Keratitis is caused by bacteria and parasites. Our eyes get infected when bacteria and parasites enter our eyes.
As mentioned before, garlic contains allicin, which has antimicrobial properties. It can inhibit the growth of bacteria and parasites. According to a study conducted by a journal, garlic was effective in treating keratitis caused by microbes.
20. Lower Blood Pressure
Our body needs blood and oxygen to survive, and our heart ensures we have enough of it. The organ pushes blood and oxygen through our blood vessels, and the force with which it pushes is known as blood pressure. If our blood pressure is constantly high, it damages the blood vessels and causes it to become narrower.
This makes it difficult for blood and oxygen to pass throughout the body and leads to heart attack, stroke, and death. Therefore, we need to maintain our blood pressure by consuming food like garlic. Garlic contains a sulfur compound, and sulfur deficiency is one cause of high blood pressure.
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