What is the correct way to consume garlic and what benefits does it have?

Garlic has become a traditional ingredient, which is used in the preparation of healthy recipes, thanks to the fact that it is one of the foods with the most proven properties.

Information from the Healthline portal indicates that it is a plant that offers various healthy benefits for the body and most of them are related to the sulfur compounds that are formed when raw garlic cloves are cut, crushed or chewed.

One of the most recognized is allicin, which offers antibiotic properties, but also contains diallyl disulfide and s-allyl cysteine. According to this website, these compounds enter the body from the digestive tract and travel throughout the body, exerting their biological effects.

In different cultures, garlic is used to treat various pathologies related to the heart and the blood system, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, heart attacks and arteriosclerosis.

It is a food rich in minerals such as manganese, selenium, calcium, copper or potassium and in vitamins B6 and C, it has few calories and it is recommended to include it as part of a balanced diet. It is a food that can be fried, chopped and added to sauces, soups, stews, meats, vegetables or fish. However, as mentioned above, raw garlic is recognized for its benefits.

According to an article published in the newspaper The vanguardfrom Spain, raw garlic does not have important contraindications in normal doses, except for people who are irritated by the stomach or allergic. It is also important to be vigilant because it can counteract the effect of medications for blood circulation, since it is a powerful anticoagulant.

On the other hand, indicates the same publication, it has been determined that it can reduce the effectiveness of drugs such as saquinavir, used in the treatment of HIV.

Although the ideal is to consume it raw, it is important not to swallow it whole. The indicated way to ingest it is to crush it or cut it into thin slices and, if you want to soften the flavor a little, mix it with coconut, walnut, olive or flax oil.

A digital media publication Business Insider indicates that a clove of raw garlic has just five calories, provides 0.2 grams of protein and one gram of carbohydrates.

The wellness and health portal Tua Sáude highlights the following benefits of this food:

1. Fight viruses, bacteria and fungi: The allicin it contains gives it an antimicrobial action, inhibiting the growth and proliferation of bacteria, viruses and fungi. It even helps eliminate toxins and pathogenic bacteria that affect the normal flora of the intestine, being useful for treating parasites.

Falling garlic, isolated on white background, selective focus – Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

2. Ally of the heart: Garlic helps reduce the levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood by inhibiting their oxidation, thus reducing the risk of atherosclerosis. It also lowers high blood pressure because it exerts a hypotensive effect and promotes blood circulation.

3. Natural anti-inflammatory: Thanks to allicin and its antioxidants, garlic decreases the inflammatory response in the body that is caused by various diseases. Also, its sulfur compounds provide analgesic properties and modulate the response of the immune system.

4. Respiratory problems: This food stimulates respiratory functions thanks to its expectorant and antiseptic properties, facilitating breathing, so its use is recommended to treat the flu, cough, cold, hoarseness, asthma, bronchitis and lung conditions.

5. Brain Health: As a result of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power provided by allicin and sulfur compounds, and thanks to its selenium and choline contentthe frequent consumption of garlic could protect brain cells and reduce the damage caused by free radicals, which are related to the onset of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.