Garlic is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. When garlic is crushed or chopped, it releases a compound called allicin which has tremendous health benefits. By drinking garlic water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, you allow the allicin to work its magic. Here are 10 science-backed ways that garlic water boosts your health:
1. Regulates Blood Pressure
Consuming garlic water on an empty stomach every morning helps regulate blood pressure. When garlic is crushed or chopped, it releases a bioactive compound called allicin. Allicin acts as a natural blood thinner by making the blood less sticky and more able to flow through blood vessels smoothly. It also relaxes the blood vessels, allowing them to dilate more easily. This leads to lowered blood pressure. Studies show that people with uncontrolled high blood pressure who consumed garlic daily saw a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to those who didn’t take garlic. Garlic supplements containing allicin were also effective. The blood pressure lowering effect is attributed to polysulfides derived from allicin. Garlic enhances nitric oxide bioavailability in the endothelial cells which helps relax blood vessels.
2. Boosts Immunity
Drinking garlic water daily gives a big boost to your immune system. Garlic has powerful antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-parasitic properties which help fight infections and diseases. It contains the compound allicin which is released when garlic cloves are crushed or chopped. Allicin has immunosstimulant effects. It enhances the activity of white blood cells like lymphocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells and T cells which protect the body against diseases. Garlic also stimulates cytokine production to activate immune cell function. The sulfur compounds in garlic also exhibit strong antioxidant effects which support immune health.
3. Improves Cholesterol Levels
Regular consumption of garlic water helps improve cholesterol levels. The allicin in garlic inhibits the activity of the enzyme responsible for cholesterol synthesis in the liver, thereby reducing the production of LDL or bad cholesterol. At the same time, garlic increases HDL or good cholesterol by enhancing the expression of apolipoprotein A1, which is a building block of HDL. Human studies show that garlic supplementation significantly reduces total and LDL cholesterol while raising HDL cholesterol. The antioxidant phytonutrients in garlic also prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which clogs arteries.
4. Regulates Blood Sugar
Drinking garlic infused water on an empty stomach every day helps regulate blood sugar levels. Garlic contains compounds like allicin that support pancreatic function and increase insulin production. It also enhances the effectiveness of insulin. The polysulfides in garlic boost insulin sensitivity in cells so that excess blood glucose can be absorbed efficiently. Garlic lowers fasting blood glucose, postprandial blood glucose as well as glycated hemoglobin or HbA1c, which is an indicator of long-term blood sugar control. This makes it beneficial for diabetics.
5. Fights Infections
Garlic exhibits strong antimicrobial properties that make it highly effective against infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Garlic has been used as a remedy for infectious diseases for centuries. Research shows that allicin in garlic exerts antibacterial action against antibiotic resistant bacteria like MRSA, salmonella, E.coli etc. Garlic also has antiviral activity against influenza, herpes, cytomegalovirus and viral pneumonia. The ajoene compound inhibits fungal infections like tinea pedis or athlete’s foot. Garlic also eliminates intestinal parasites and amoeba infections which cause dysentery and diarrhea.
6. Improves Digestion
Drinking garlic infused water, especially first thing in the morning, can improve digestion in many ways. Garlic stimulates the liver to excrete more bile. This bile helps emulsify fats and enhance the activity of digestive enzymes for better breakdown of food. The allicin in garlic boosts the production of gastric acids, enzymes and salts in the stomach that aid digestion. Garlic also improves gut motility so food passes smoothly through the digestive tract. In addition, garlic acts as a prebiotic that feeds gut bacteria linked to healthy digestion like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.
7. Enhances Bone Health
Garlic water is highly beneficial for bone health. Garlic contains key minerals involved in bone matrix formation and bone mineralization like calcium, magnesium and manganese. It helps prevent the release of calcium from bones which is linked to bone loss. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of garlic lower oxidative stress and inflammation which promotes bone loss. Garlic increases estrogen levels in females to maintain bone density. The sulfur compounds in garlic help mitigate bone loss by reducing urinary excretion of calcium. Human studies show that garlic supplementation for 12 months significantly increased estrogen levels and decreased serum alkaline phosphatases, which is a marker of bone loss.
8. Prevents Neurological Diseases
The organosulfur compounds present in garlic protect the brain from free radical damage and oxidation of fatty acids, which are implicated in neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Garlic increases glutathione levels to reduce oxidative stress in the brain. Allicin also inhibits acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme involved in forming the plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Garlic enhances cerebral blood flow and vasodilation which reduces damage to blood vessels in the brain. The antioxidant effects protect brain cells by stimulating neurotrophic factors like brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF). All these neuroprotective mechanisms lower risk of age-related brain diseases.
9. Prevents Cancer
The powerful antioxidants in garlic like allicin, ajoene and polysulfides inhibit tumor growth by reducing oxidative damage linked to cancer development. They also induce apoptosis or programmed cell death in cancerous cells. Garlic lowers the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes like 5-LOX and COX-2 which promote cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth. Clinical research shows that regular garlic consumption provides chemopreventive benefits against stomach, colorectal, prostate, breast, lung, bladder and brain cancers. The organosulfur compounds modify gene expression to suppress tumor formation and inhibit metastasis or spreading of cancer to other parts of the body.
10. Boosts Liver Health
Drinking garlic water is excellent for the liver. Garlic contains compounds like allicin, ajoene, organosulfur and polysulfides that protect liver cells from damage by removing free radicals and reactive oxygen species. Garlic also stimulates enzymes that help the liver detoxify chemicals and pollutants. It enhances bile production so the body can eliminate toxins effectively. Additionally, garlic exhibits hepatoprotective effects against liver damage from painkillers like acetaminophen and carbon tetrachloride. Animal studies demonstrate that garlic administration prevented fatty liver disease in rats by lowering triglyceride accumulation and normalizing liver enzymes. The antioxidant benefits shield the liver from injury and disease.
I hope this article convinced you to make garlic water a part of your daily routine. Let me know in the comments if you start drinking this healing potion and the benefits you notice. Thanks for reading!