It is safe to eat a clove of garlic as long as you are not allergic to it. However, you must be aware that it has a strong pungent smell that may give you garlicky breath. Also, having a large amount of garlic at once may give you a burning sensation inside the mouth, heartburn, gases, and loose motions.
Garlic is an herb that is grown around the world. Garlic is found as a white bulb (the shape is similar to an onion). The entire garlic is called a 'head' or 'knob.' Each small, individual segment of a garlic head is the garlic clove, which is also white. A single clove of garlic is equal to one teaspoon of chopped garlic or half a teaspoon of minced garlic. Garlic is a popular ingredient used in several dishes and beverages to add flavor.
Garlic may be added raw, as garlic powder, or in the form of garlic oil to dishes. Garlic is usually consumed cooked but can be eaten raw, which is even better because the raw form preserves all its beneficial nutrients. Most of the benefits of raw garlic come from an enzyme called allicinAllicin has anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antibacterial, and anticancer properties. Allicin also gives garlic its characteristic odor. It is safe to eat a clove of garlic a day after a meal. To avoid the bad breath associated with eating raw garlic, the garlic may be cut into small pieces and swallowed instead of chewing. Adding too much garlic while cooking can also result in bad breath.
The health benefits of garlic
The 10 possible health benefits of garlic include:
- Medicinal properties: Garlic has been used throughout ancient history for its health benefits and medicinal properties. The health benefits are a result of the sulfur compounds formed when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed, or chewed. It has been used to treat several common illnesses, such as common colds.
- High nutrition value and low in calories: Garlic is highly nutritious, containing several essential nutrients, and low in calories. One clove of raw garlic contains manganese, Vitamin C, selenium, and small amounts of fiber, calcium, copper, phosphorus, iron, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, and potassium.
- Boosts immune system: Garlic has been found to boost the function of the immune system, reducing the occurrence and intensity of common ailments like the flu and other systemic or skin infections.
- Reduces blood pressure: Active compounds in garlic can reduce blood pressure (hypertension), reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes.
- Reduces blood sugar: Garlic reduces pre-meal blood sugar level fluctuations in people with or without diabetes. It is effective in diabetic patients especially if it is taken for more than 3 months.
- Reduces cholesterol levels: Garlic can lower the levels of cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Rich in antioxidants: Antioxidants reduce oxidative damage in the body tissue, which slows the process of aging and protects the body. The antioxidants in garlic combined with its benefits on blood pressure and cholesterol protect the heart and brain. It reduces the risk of brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Improves physical performance: Garlic can reduce fatigue, improving athletic performance, and physical capacity. It was used in ancient times to improve the physical performance of laborers and improve athletic performance in Olympic athletes in ancient Greece.
- Detoxification of heavy metals in the body: At high doses, garlic has been found to protect against the organs from heavy metal toxicity due to the sulfur compounds.
- Garlic may increase longevity: Garlic can benefit the heart, brain, and other organs. It reduces risk factors, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and heavy metal toxicity, which can help people live longer. Garlic is also a rich source of antioxidants and nutrients, and it boosts the immune system as well.
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Bayan L, Koulivand PH, Gorji A. Garlic: A Review of Potential Therapeutic Effects. Avicenna J Phytomed. January-February 2014; 4(1): 1-14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103721/