Garlic’s Nutritional Benefits: What Makes It So Special?
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Garlic, known for its distinctive flavour and aroma, has been celebrated for centuries in culinary traditions worldwide, including Indian cuisine. However, garlic is regarded to have many health benefits, from increasing immunity to improving the health of the heart. Daily consumption of garlic improves health, as supported by scientific research and traditional knowledge. As well as it helps to maintain the cardiovascular, immune, nervous, and digestive systems. It has the potential to possess anticancer traits and improve skin health, so garlic has proved to be an important nutrient in a healthy diet.

By incorporating garlic into Indian dishes such as curries, dals, and chutneys, individuals can enjoy its culinary delights while harnessing its health-promoting properties.  This article delves into the scientific evidence behind these claims, exploring how garlic fits into a balanced diet and its potential role in promoting overall well-being.

Nutritional Profile

Garlic is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and selenium. It also contains sulphur compounds such as allicin, which are responsible for its the characteristic odour and many of its health benefits. These compounds have antioxidant properties that help protect cells from damage and support various bodily functions.

Antimicrobial Properties

Garlic has natural antimicrobial properties due to its sulphur-containing compounds, which may help combat bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. In traditional medicine, garlic has been used to treat infections ranging from common colds to more serious illnesses, though more research is needed to validate these claims fully.

Cardiovascular Health

Studies suggest that garlic may contribute to cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Allicin and other compounds in garlic help relax blood vessels, improving circulation and potentially reducing the risk of heart disease. Regular consumption of garlic, particularly in raw or lightly cooked forms, is associated with these cardiovascular benefits. As per the British Heart Foundation, garlic powder and extracts have been shown to potentially decrease blood pressure. Thus, heart health may also benefit from this.

Anti-inflammatory Effects

Garlic contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to various chronic diseases such as arthritis and cardiovascular conditions. Including garlic in your diet may contribute to managing inflammation and promoting overall health.

Immune System Support

Garlic is believed to strengthen the immune system, making it more resilient against infections and illnesses. Its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties help support immune function, particularly during cold and flu seasons. Incorporating garlic into soups, curries, and other dishes can enhance flavour while potentially boosting immune defences.

Digestive Health

Garlic stimulates digestion and supports gut health by promoting the production of digestive enzymes. It may aid in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome and alleviating digestive discomforts such as bloating and gas. Including garlic in meals can enhance digestive processes and improve overall gastrointestinal well-being.

Bone Health

Garlic contains nutrients like manganese and vitamin B6, which are essential for maintaining bone health and preventing conditions such as osteoporosis. These nutrients support bone metabolism contributes to overall skeletal strength when consumed as part of a balanced diet. Garlic pills and raw garlic were found to enhance calcium absorption as mentioned in Electron Physician in 2017 journal. Osteoporosis is one ailment that this can help with.


Garlic supports liver function, aiding in detoxification processes that eliminate toxins from the body. Its sulphur compounds enhance liver enzymes’ activity, promoting effective detoxification and enhancing overall metabolic function. Including garlic in meals can support the body's natural detox mechanisms and promote overall health.

Diabetes Management

The Food and Nutrition journal suggests that garlic may help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, making it beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition. Its antioxidant properties and ability to enhance insulin secretion contribute to better glucose control when incorporated into a balanced diet.

Cancer Prevention

According to Front Pharmacol in 2023, research indicates that garlic may have potential anticancer properties due to its sulphur compounds and antioxidant content. These compounds help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including stomach and colorectal cancers. While more research is needed, garlic’s role in cancer prevention is promising.

Respiratory Health

Garlic is known for its respiratory benefits, particularly in alleviating symptoms of respiratory infections and supporting lung function. Its antimicrobial properties help combat respiratory pathogens, while its anti-inflammatory effects may reduce inflammation in the airways. Adding garlic to soups or teas can soothe respiratory discomforts and promote respiratory health.

Whether raw, cooked, or roasted, garlic continues to prove its worth as a natural remedy and flavour enhancer that enriches both culinary experiences and overall well-being.