What will happen to you if you start eating garlic every single day? Well, for one thing, vampires will probably stay far away from you. In fact, living humans may start keeping their distance, too, if you really reek of the stuff.
But strangely enough, you can reverse the off-putting effect if you time your garlic consumption just right: A study outlined in the journal Appetite (via Science Direct) revealed the somewhat surprising news that men who consumed raw garlic or garlic capsules were found to have a body odor that women perceived as being more attractive than that of non-garlic eaters after 12 hours had passed. So here’s your dating tip for the day, at least if you’re going out with a woman (since no similar study has been performed using men as the odor-sniffers): Eat a garlicky breakfast, perhaps followed by a mouthwash chaser. Don’t have 12 hours to spare? Garlic capsules have a less noticeable odor, but they also don’t make you smell quite as sexy as the raw stuff.
Apart from lending you that certain je ne sais quoi, regular garlic consumption also offers some significant health benefits.
According to Healthline, the active compounds in garlic are able to lower blood pressure, which can actually be a lifesaver since hypertension (high blood pressure) is a leading cause of cardiovascular diseases like strokes and heart attacks. Several studies have indicated garlic’s ability to reduce blood pressure, with one showing that 600 to 1,500 milligrams of aged garlic extract taken over a 24-week period lowered blood pressure just as effectively as did the prescription drug Atenolol.
It is thought that the sulfur contained in garlic is converted by red blood cells into hydrogen sulfide gas, that as it expands, enlarges the blood vessels, which in turn helps to regulate blood pressure. The recommended dosage for supplements taken to treat hypertension varies, with Germany’s Commission E (similar to our U.S. Food & Drug Administration) recommending four grams, or the equivalent of one large clove (via Cleveland Clinic).
The studies referenced in Healthline seemed to indicate that higher doses equivalent to four daily cloves of garlic would be required in order to provide significant benefits. As with all medical conditions, it is recommended you only use garlic to treat high blood pressure after consulting with your doctor.
Garlic has antibiotic properties, which nutritionist Dr. Simran Saini says may be due to its high sulfur content (via NDTV). Garlic in test tubes appears to kill cancer cells, and a study of over 40,000 middle-aged women found that those who regularly consumed garlic, as well as other fruits and vegetables, had a 35 percent lower colon cancer risk than women who were less inclined to consume the “stinking rose.”
While some studies regarding garlic’s immunity-boosting properties utilized supplements, others found that its benefits were best realized by eating fresh garlic. Dr. Saini recommending that the best way to get all the good that garlic has to offer is to place a clove between your teeth and then bite down a little to release its extracts. After doing so, swallow the garlic clove whole with a water chaser — you’ll need it, since raw garlic on its own can be some pretty powerful-tasting stuff.
Garlic help prevent the common cold by increasing your immunity — with a single daily dose reducing your chances of catching one by up to 63 percent, per a study in the journal Advances in Therapy. If you’re one of the unlucky 37 percent and you get sick anyway, garlic can help with that, too: Taking garlic supplements may reduce your sick time by 60 to 70 percent, so you’re only symptomatic for a day or two as opposed to the more typical five days of misery.
While garlic supplements were used in the experiments, Dr. Shikha Sharma, a health and wellness expert from Delhi, suggests that garlic is always best if consumed in its raw state (via NDTV). However, cooked fresh garlic may be a little bit easier on the nose and the tastebuds, and it can also be quite beneficial. Sharma recommends adding it to stews and soups, and there are numerous other dishes that could benefit from the addition of garlic. For super cold-fighting power, you can also make a garlic tea with a little honey and ginger to help give it a more tea-like flavor.
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