Forget apples…a clove of garlic a day keeps the doctor away. If you’re only using garlic to keep vampires and unwanted suitors away, you are missing out. Including garlic as part of your regular diet may have beneficial effects on your heart and blood health as well as possibly helping to prevent cancer.
The reason is that the sulfuric compounds and other phytonutrients (phyto = plant) in garlic have powerful effects on the body.
- Thin the blood: When consumed, they’ve been shown to thin the blood, which can be helpful in the prevention of heart disease, such as heart attacks and stroke.
- Antioxidants: They also are high in antioxidants, and so might be helpful in the prevention of many different types of cancer.
- Joint health: Your joints will also love you for consuming garlic on a regular basis — a study found that people who consumed higher amounts of garlic (and other allium vegetables, such as leeks, chives, and onions) were less likely to get osteoarthritis than those who didn’t consume as much.
- Increase absorption of iron and zinc: A study found that eating garlic with grains helped the absorption of these necessary minerals. This is especially important for vegetarians who may not get as much iron and zinc in their diet as a meat-eater.
If you’re not used to eating garlic, we recommend introducing them slowly to your diet. The sulfuric compounds in garlic may be new to your digestive tract and increase gas at first. Start with a quarter of a clove and work your way up to 1 clove per day. Having them cooked is easier to digest than raw. Add chopped up pieces to your rice, pasta sauce, or sautéed vegetables for a delicious and healthy addition to your meal.