Raw Garlic Benefits: Unlocking the Power of This Natural Remedy

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    Raw garlic offers much more than just its aromatic flavor. This root vegetable has a number of benefits that can promote overall health and well-being.

    Garlic is the ingredient that adds one of the most wonderful aromas to an array of cuisines around the world. Although garlic is commonly consumed as a spice, raw garlic is actually a root vegetable. This root vegetable is widely used in a number of culinary creations because of its unique taste and smell. But, apart from its distinctive flavor, garlic also offers a number of potential health benefits. In this article, we will begin to peel back the layers of this pungent bulb and explore everything from its nutritional profile to the benefits it can provide. So, let’s get started!

    Understanding the Nutritional Profile of Raw Garlic

    As we begin to explore this delicious root vegetable, you’ll see that garlic offers a lot more than just its pungent flavor. Garlic is incredibly low in calories while containing an abundance of vitamins and trace minerals. One single clove (about 3 grams) of garlic contains only 4.5 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates, and the following micronutrients:

    • Phosphorus: 4.59 mg (1% of the daily value)
    • Manganese: 0.05 mg (2% of the daily value)
    • Selenium: 0.426 mg (1% of the daily value)
    • Vitamin C: 0.94 mg (1% of the daily value)
    • Vitamin B6: 0.037 mg (2% of the daily value)

    Along with its vitamin and mineral content, raw garlic contains other beneficial compounds, such as allicin. Allicin is an active constituent of garlic and is responsible for many of its health benefits. Allicin is a powerful compound that has been studied for its potential to support cardiovascular health and boost the immune system. Garlic is also known to contain a blend of antioxidants, which are important for combating oxidative stress and supporting healthy responses in the body.

    But fear not, if you're not a fan of the strong taste and aroma of raw garlic, there's a convenient alternative. Care/of’s Garlic supplement harnesses the incredible benefits of raw garlic in a more palatable form. So, whether you choose to embrace the pungent cloves or opt for the supplement, you can still reap the rewards of this remarkable bulb.

    Support Your Immune System with Raw Garlic

    If you’ve ever wondered why garlic has immune-boosting powers. The powers reside in the fructans also referred to as fructoligosaccharides (FOS) which have prebiotic-like properties which are responsible for its ability to stimulate beneficial properties in the colon which can modulate different immune responses.

    Additionally, the antioxidant-like properties in garlic have been found to help manage oxidative stress and boost enzymes that produce and recycle antioxidants like glutathione.

    Blood Pressure and Raw Garlic.

    Fascinatingly, raw garlic may hold some promising benefits when it comes to blood pressure benefits. It has been found to help maintain healthy blood pressure levels already within normal range.

    So, how exactly does this mechanism work? Well, although primary human studies are inconclusive, in vitro cell studies show there are potential vasodilating effects of garlic. By promoting relaxation and widening of blood vessels, garlic may support a healthy cardiovascular system.

    Incorporating garlic into your diet is a simple and tasty way to support heart health. However, it’s important to always talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have about your blood pressure. Additional research is still needed to be able to determine optimal doses for maximizing cardiovascular benefits.

    Raw Garlic + Heart Health

    In addition to garlic’s role in blood pressure maintenance, it has also been associated with maintaining healthy cholesterol levels (already within the normal range).

    Effective Ways to Consume Raw Garlic

    Garlic can be incorporated into your daily routine in a number of ways. For one, you can easily mix minced garlic with other foods, such as stir-fries, pasta, potatoes, soups, and sautéed vegetables.

    Another delicious option is to add raw garlic to sauces and dressings. Garlic can be added to any marinade to add a burst of flavor to grilled meat or any protein of choice. The infusion of garlic can also make an incredible salad dressing. You can add finely chopped garlic cloves to olive oil and allow them to infuse into the oil for a couple of hours. It can then be drizzled over a delicious spinach or kale salad. The addition of pine nuts also complements the pungent flavor of garlic extremely well.

    Determining the Ideal Daily Raw Garlic Intake

    The ideal daily intake of raw garlic can vary from person to person. It’s recommended to start with a small amount and gradually increase it over time. This will allow you to gauge your body’s tolerance and make adjustments accordingly.

    Potential Side Effects of Raw Garlic

    While raw garlic has numerous benefits, it’s also important to keep in mind some potential side effects. One side effect is the possibility of indigestion or stomach discomfort, especially when consumed in large amounts.

    Moreover, raw garlic has natural blood-thinning properties, which can be beneficial for some, but may pose a risk for those on blood-thinning medications or other health issues.

    Lastly, it’s possible for garlic to cause a bad body odor. The sulfuric compounds in garlic can be released through the pores, resulting in a garlicky smell. However, this effect can be minimized by practicing good hygiene.

    Can raw garlic help encourage weight loss?

    There has been a lot of controversy over garlic being able to help with weight loss. Yet, while some animal studies suggest a potential correlation between raw garlic and weight loss, the findings from clinical studies in humans are inconsistent.

    The best way to achieve healthy weight loss or maintenance is to exercise regularly, consume nutrient-rich foods, and hydrate properly. Lifestyle factors such as obtaining adequate sleep and managing stress levels are also just as important.

    Raw Garlic vs. Garlic Supplements

    Raw garlic, especially when aged, can be a potent source of antioxidants. Aged raw garlic has been shown to boost levels of some of the most powerful antioxidants, such as S-allyl cysteine.

    It’s not uncommon for some individuals to be put off by the strong odor and flavor of raw garlic. In such cases, there are garlic supplements available in various forms, such as capsules or tablets that provide a concentrated dose of garlic extract. These supplements will allow you to obtain similar benefits without the need to consume raw garlic directly. In fact, garlic supplements have been shown to be possibly even more effective than raw garlic. However, it's important to note that the effectiveness of garlic supplements can vary, as the quality and standardization of these products may differ across brands.

    Raw Garlic vs. Cooked Garlic in Meals

    When it comes to raw versus cooked garlic, there is one key difference. Raw garlic contains more allicin, the compound we discussed earlier that is responsible for many of its health benefits. This is because when garlic is cooked, the high temperatures kill the allicin. So, a good way to prevent this is by adding garlic to your recipes when the food is almost finished cooking. This will help preserve its beneficial compounds.

    The Bottom Line

    Raw garlic is a remarkable ingredient that offers so much more than just its unique flavor. From its ability to support the immune system and maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels (already in normal range) to its potent antioxidant properties, raw garlic can be a flavorful ally in our pursuit of optimal health. Whether enjoyed on its own, mixed in with other foods, or incorporated into sauces and dressings, there are many ways to add garlic to your regular diet. And, of course, garlic supplements are available for anyone who doesn’t enjoy the taste or smell of raw garlic.

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Jordana Tobelem, RD
    Freelance Contributor
    Jordana Tobelem is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys helping others become the best versions of themselves through proper nutrition education. Jordana is passionate about promoting lifestyle changes through nutrition, physical activity, and behavior to create a superior quality of life. She uses her experience in the clinical field of dietetics to provide consulting services to an array of healthcare brands and companies. Jordana loves finding the most current research in nutrition to create meaningful content to share with her clients. Jordana has been a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since 2018 and also holds certifications in both Personal Training and Health Coaching.