Garlic, scientifically known as Allium sativum, has 7000 years old history of human use.
Garlic is native to central Asia. It is also grown in regions of Africa, Asia and Europe. It grows up to 1.2 meter in height.
Garlic was used as both food and medicine, dating back to the Egyptian era.
In both the World Wars, it was used as an antiseptic. It also showed medicinal properties to cure gangrene and other infections.
Nutritional profile of garlic
6 cloves (18 grams) of garlic contain:
- Manganese: 0.03 mg (10.1)
- Vitamin B6: 0.22 mg (8.7)
- Vitamin C: 5.62 mg (5.0)
- Copper: 0.05 mg (3.7)
- Selenium: 2.56 mcg (3.1)
- Phosphorous : 27.54 mg (2.6)
- Vitamin B1: 0.04 mg (2.2)
- Calcium: 32.58 mg (2.2)
Carbohydrates and proteins are present in sufficient amount.
(Numerical in the bracket indicates the nutrient density of the component.)
Main component in garlic is allicin which is responsible for its miraculous properties.
Garlic has been found to be effective in weight loss. It boosts the metabolism of the body and kills fat cells. It also lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL (good cholesterol) level.
Lets now discuss how garlic helps to stimulate weight loss.
3 Ways Garlic Can Help if You Are Overweight
Foods have different mechanism to promote weight loss (or gain). Thus it make sense to include variety of weight loss promoting foods to ensure you get best results.
Here are some ways garlic promotes weight loss and help in preventing weight or high fat diet associated disorders.
1. Garlic prevents fat accumulation, promotes weight loss
It was observed in a study that garlic supplementation significantly decreased the mRNA levels of adipogenic genes present in white adipose tissue.
This resulted in decreased gene expression resulting in less fat accumulation. Thermogenesis and AMP-activated protein kinase activity were responsible for the anti-obesity effects of garlic.
A study conducted at Tel Aviv University, Israel investigated the benefits of allicin on weight in fructose induced hyeperinsulinemic and hyperlipidaemic rats.
Allicin is an organo-sulphur compound imparting the therapeutic activity to garlic.
It was observed that rats fed with allicin supplementation showed significant weight loss as compared with rats fed with fructose only. This clearly demonstrates the anti-obesity effects of garlic.
One of the major strategies in curbing obesity is to limit white adipose tissue expansion and reducing inflammation. 1,2 vinyldithiin (1,2- DT) is a garlic derived organo sulphur compound.
A study was conducted to investigate the effect of it on inflammatory state and differentiation of human pre-adipocytes. Lipid accumulation was significantly diminished in pre-adipocytes. It was concluded that 1,2- DT has anti-adipogenic and anti-inflammatory actions on human pre-adipocytes.
A study was conducted to investigate the benefits of aged garlic extract (AGE) on cardiovascular risk in the postmenopausal women.
The 12 week AGE regime demonstrated that garlic has beneficial effects on body weight, BMI and LDL cholesterol that are important markers for CVD disorders. This proves that garlic is important in curbing obesity and CVD disorders.
What it means? Scientific studies have proved that garlic curbs weight by decreasing the gene expression of fat cells and thermogenesis.
2. Garlic prevents oxidative stress
Oxidative stress is an imbalance in the production of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) and body’s ability to counteract the harmful effects through their neutralization.
Oxidative stress can lead to serious conditions like Parkinson’s disease, ADHD, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease; myocardial infarction and heart failure. Obese people tend to consume a high fat diet which is a major risk factor in inducing oxidative stress.
A study was carried out to analyse the potential benefits of garlic in ameliorating oxidative stress. A moderate decline in blood pressure and a significant reduction in the levels of nitric oxide and lipid peroxidation were observed.
The study clearly demonstrated the cardio protective benefits of garlic.
Metabolic syndrome is characterised by high fat deposits around waist, hypertension, abnormal cholesterol and high blood sugar. Oxidative stress is prevalent in this syndrome.
A study carried out at Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Argentina demonstrated that aqueous garlic extracts prevent oxidative stress and vascular remodelling in rats with metabolic syndrome.
Another study carried out to understand the anti-oxidative stress effects of garlic showed that skin and flesh garlic extracts are effective in preventing cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and cell death.
Garlic does so by reducing the oxidative stress in the body.
What it means? Oxidative stress is a dangerous condition that can lead to many serious disorders. High fat diet is one of the major culprits in causing oxidative stress. Scientific studies have shown that garlic is highly beneficial in curbing oxidative stress.
3. Garlic lowers level of bad cholesterol, increases good cholesterol level
LDL cholesterol is the bad cholesterol that can lead to many diseases like atherosclerosis, hypertension and angina pectoris if present in excess.
Diet rich in LDL cholesterol is the one of the most prevalent things in today’s lifestyle. People having high fat diet are at higher risk. The same is true for obese people.
Garlic is found to be beneficial in curbing cardiovascular diseases.
A scientific study showed that chewing garlic can reduce cholesterol and triglycerides by 4% and 10% respectively. The HDL or good cholesterol concentration remained the same.
S-allyl cysteine is an organo sulphur compound found in garlic. It is found to lower cholesterol, serve as an anti-oxidant, inhibit cancer process and prevent liver from toxins.
What it means? Garlic is beneficial in lowering the levels of cholesterol, thus preventing atherosclerosis, hypertension and other CVD disorders. High cholesterol levels have a direct relationship with weight gain.
How to incorporate garlic into your diet?
It is essential to understand that allicin which imparts main therapeutic value to garlic is lost after cooking.
It is advised to consume raw garlic.
Crushing and chopping of the garlic helps to activate garlic’s enzymes. Hence it is recommended to add chopped pieces of raw garlic into vegetables.
Garlic can be added to vegetables, salads and in Mediterranean dressing.
Do not store garlic in oil mixtures at room temperature as it provides perfect conditions for producing botulism. Refrain from consuming garlic if you have an allergy to it.
Garlic is considered one of the healthiest foods.
Recent studies have shown that garlic is beneficial in curbing obesity and related issues.
Remember that cooked garlic has an lesser therapeutic value as most of the active components are lost while cooking. It is important to change outlook towards garlic, introduce it in diet as a raw food and not just for its characteristic taste.
Note that garlic is not “weight loss pill” it cannot bring in sudden changes in weight. Weight loss is a process and garlic can prove to be highly beneficial in your weight loss regime.it!