On every corner of the globe people use garlic. It’s possibly the world’s most popular herb, and has been used for thousands of years. However it has some surprising benefits – it can help your health and sleep in potentially numerous ways too.

Let’s be honest: we already know being a vegetarian or vegan is a healthy lifestyle choice. But adding more garlic into your food choices at home and when dining out can supercharge your health. Let’s explain why!

Disclaimer: You must always consult your doctor before including a new supplement or food into your daily routine as only your doctor can explain any pros or cons that are specific to you. Some supplements & foods may interfere with medications and/or cause allergic reactions.

Photo for illustrative purposes only: Unsplash+/Olivie Strauss

The Health Rundown: What Garlic Could Offer You!

It’s rare to hear anyone say no to garlic. After all, it’s a herb that seems to go well with so many meals. Slap it on bread, stick some in your soup, or use it in a sauce – it’s as versatile as it is tasty.

And That versatility stretches to its health benefits as well, as we show you below:

  • The compound allicin can be found in garlic. It has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of some forms of human cancer cells, giving garlic anti-cancer properties.

  • Allicin has also been shown in animal studies to have the potential to treat diabetic hypertension.

  • One study has shown that garlic was able to help de-toxify individuals who had lead poisoning.

  • It’s been shown that garlic has an overall anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effect.

  • Long term use of garlic could lead to reduced risk of certain types of cancers.

  • Garlic has been shown to reduce dementia risk.

  • Garlic has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease.

  • Garlic’s anti-oxidant effect appears to reduce the risk of brain cell damage involved in Alzheimer’s.

Garlic To Help You Sleep? Correct! This Herb Is Packed With ‘Sleep’ Nutrients

Garlic is made up of several compounds and nutrients that have a calming effect on your body. Which for many people with sleep issues, is exactly what they need to help improve sleep quality.

In fact garlic is packed with zinc, which is a nutrient that has been shown to help restore sleep quality.

In a study done on ICU nurses with poor sleep, zinc was shown to directly help sleep quality and sleep latency – i.e. the time it takes to fall asleep. This nutrient appears to be involved in the regulation of sleep too, and therefore getting enough of it is likely important for sleep quality, latency and duration.

display of garlic
Photo for illustrative purposes only: Unsplash+/Jerome Mass

Garlic also has potassium which is another nutrient that has been observed to have an effect on sleep. In a study undertaken with men who were on a low-potassium diet, researchers found that boosting their potassium levels showed results that appeared to indicate an improvement in ‘sleep consolidation’.

What that means, is that potassium could help keep you asleep throughout the night and stop you from frequently waking up. Which is a great reason to make sure you incorporate garlic into any meal before bed.

Lastly, when this superfood is crushed or cut, a chemical compound called allicin is released. This compound is especially interesting as not only is it anti-inflammatory, but it’s also been shown in animal studies to have relaxant qualities to it.

Therefore the pain relief allicin can provide due to its anti-inflammatory qualities, coupled with its relaxant nature, can help promote an ability to fall asleep quicker.

Garlic has zinc and potassium, two nutrients that are known to have an effect on sleep quality, latency, and duration. It also has a compound called allicin that is a natural relaxant. These combined make garlic a natural sleep aid for individuals who have trouble sleeping.

Photo for illustrative purposes only: Unsplash+/Olivie Strauss

Incorporating Garlic Into Your Diet

Thankfully garlic is not only cheap and widely accessible, but this versatile herb is also easy to incorporate into any vegan or vegetarian diet.

Adding a little crushed garlic as seasoning to your evening meal, or as part of garlic butter (best in moderation due to the high fat content), will provide a tasty and easy way to reap the powerful benefits of garlic.

garlic display
Photo for illustrative purposes only: Unsplash+/Engin Akyurt

Any Side Effects?

Garlic has been enjoyed for thousands of years, and usually causes no issues. However excessive consumption could lead to side effects such as bloating, diarrhoea, stomach issues, bad breath, nausea, heartburn, and vomiting.

As always, we recommend consulting with your doctor if undertaking a diet change, or if you have concerns about how a specific food may interact with any preexisting conditions or medicines.