Garlic is an essential ingredient in many cuisines. It also has many medicinal and health benefits. Aside from reducing risks of heart disease and lowering blood pressure, it can also strengthen one’s immune system.
What gives garlic its remarkable smell and taste is allicin. As allicin is unstable, it converts into other sulphur-containing compounds that give garlic its medicinal properties. These compounds are said to fight viruses that cause common cold or flu.
In one study, over a hundred healthy volunteers received either a placebo or garlic supplement for three months. Results show that the group who took garlic had a lower risk of getting colds, and if they did get them they were less severe. This proves that garlic lowers the risks of obtaining common cold and flu as well as it reduces the chances of getting its symptoms. That said, the studies conducted in the area were also noted to not always be up to standard.
Its benefits can be maximized through proper processing and preparation. One, make sure to crush or slice the garlic before eating or cooking. This increases the allicin content that provides a higher nutritional value to the garlic. Second, let the crushed garlic stand for 10 minutes before cooking to slow down the loss allicin breakdown.
Aside from eating garlic, other options that can help one avoid cold and flu include taking probiotics, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, and avoiding smoking and too much alcohol.