With a surge in health consciousness, more and more people are becoming mindful of what they consume. Healthy food choices not only provide physical but also mental benefits. It is also a long-term investment in your future well-being. In pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, one of the most common vegetables bought for its health benefits and savory flavor is garlic.
But even with its numerous health benefits, most people still wonder whether garlic is acidic or alkaline? This article will answer this question and provide information on its health benefits and the side effect.
Garlic is a bulb-shaped vegetable part of the Allium family, with onions, leeks, shallots, and scallions. Originally from middle Asia, garlic is now widely cultivated across the globe.
This herb is widely used across the globe for its unique flavor. It is one of the few kitchen ingredients that have the ability to transform any dish into a savory experience. Garlic is also hailed for its medicinal properties.
For thousands of years, this herb has been used to treat various diseases and illnesses. In fact, it is the most common home remedy for various diseases like colds and flu in almost every household in the world.
Is Raw Garlic Acidic or Alkaline?
Garlic is an anti-inflammatory superfood that lies in the acidic foods category with a pH that typically ranges between 5.3 to 6.3. However, it is important to understand that a food’s acid or alkaline-forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with its natural pH. Hence, although garlic may be an acidic food, it helps to alkalize your body instead of harming it. Other foods that are considered to be alkaline include lima beans, apples, carrots, coconut, celery, grapes, lemons, melons, figs, olives, flax seeds, kelp, and much more.
What Do Alkaline Foods Do?
It is believed that eating alkaline foods like garlic helps to stabilize your blood’s pH level, reducing your inflammatory state. High acidity levels in the blood put you at a greater risk of chronic diseases like bone loss and cancer. Alkaline foods help minimize the risks of acidity and acid reflux, bringing some level of relief. The stomach’s pH balance ranges from 2.0 to 3.5. Although highly acidic, this pH is necessary for the process of digestion. During the digestion process, our stomach secrets gastric acid that help break down food.
However, due to an unhealthy lifestyle and food eating habits, the acidic level in the body may rise, leading to acidity, acid reflux, and other gastric health conditions. Alkaline foods are important to bring balance when stomach acidity levels rise by countering the risk of acidity and acid reflux.
Nutritional Benefits of Garlic
Garlic is a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals and also has an alkalizing effect on the body. It has nutrients such as Vitamin B1, B6, and C, Manganese, Copper, Selenium, Calcium, and many others. Garlic also helps to detoxify the body by enhancing the production of glutathione, which helps sieve poisons from the digestive system.
Health Benefits of Garlic
Garlic has been celebrated for its culinary use and its medicinal properties throughout the years. Legend has it that garlic was fed to the Olympians of Greece, Rome’s gladiators, and Egypt’s pyramid builders.
Since time immemorial, garlic has been used for its medicinal properties, which help in fighting several diseases. An active component responsible for its germ-killing ability, Allicin derives these health benefits.
In combination with nutrients like Vitamin C, Folate, Phosphorous, Calcium, Zinc, Iron, and Magnesium, garlic makes garlic a great anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting ingredient. Some common health benefits of garlic include:
Studies show that garlic can boost the body’s immune response by decreasing inflammation. It also helps reduce the instances of cold or flu.
Reduces High Blood Pressure
Garlic stimulates nitric oxide synthesis, which dilates blood vessels and inhibits ACE activity, which relaxes blood vessels. These features help to support healthy blood flow and pressure.
Loaded With Antioxidants
Garlic’s nutrients and plant compounds give it strong antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help fight the free radicals and prevent oxidative damage, leading to several diseases. This property also makes garlic a great food to keep diseases like cancer at bay.
Helps Manage Blood Sugars
Raw garlic is great for reducing fasting blood sugar levels, regulating insulin balance in the body, and improving blood sugar management, especially for type 2 diabetes patients. However, moderate consumption is necessary to reap the benefits.
Great for Heart Health
One garlic clove a day keeps diseases at bay. Garlic contains vitamins B6 and C, which help regulate blood metabolism and promote a functional nervous system. As a result, it helps improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which affect heart health. Garlic also contains antiarrhythmic effects that help stabilize the irregular heartbeat. This helps reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, which could be fatal.
Perfect Brain Food
Regular consumption of garlic is great for brain development and can keep age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia at bay. These diseases are caused by damaged cells in the brain. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of garlic work exceptionally well in healing the damaged cells in the body.
Cleansing the Liver
Garlic may also help improve the health of your liver. Studies show that garlic decreases fatty deposits in the liver and rebalances liver cell size.
Potential Risks of Garlic Intake
Although garlic is associated with many health benefits, it has a few potential drawbacks. For starters, people who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease, popularly known as GAERD, are advised to limit their garlic consumption.
Garlic may also increase the risk of bleeding as it has blood-thinning properties that prevent the formation of blood clots. Garlic may also react with certain medications. So be sure to consult your doctor before adding garlic to your diet.
How to Eat Garlic
Here are some fun and easy ways to incorporate garlic into your daily diet.
Eat It Raw
If you haven’t tried garlic before, take a small clove and bite into it. You can also add chopped raw garlic to your toasts, salads, and rice. The main downside of eating garlic raw is that it may give you bad garlic breath. Consuming too much garlic may also cause heartburn and gases.
Add It to Your Pasta
To get the most nutrients from garlic cloves, mince them and add them to your pasta immediately after cooking.
Add It to Your Salad
Mince a few cloves of fresh garlic. Add the freshly minced garlic to your salad dressing.
Garnish Your Toast
Ump your toast’s flavor boost by dressing your guacamole with thin shavings of fresh raw garlic. The rich, creamy taste of avocado will mellow down the strong taste of raw garlic.
Cooked garlic is softer, milder and creamer compared to fresh garlic. Garlic cloves can also be added to teas, soups, and condiments to enhance the taste and give it a different sweet-savory flavor.
The Bottom Line
Garlic is generally a safe substance. However, if you eat too much of it, you may suffer side effects like heartburn, digestive issues, and bad breath. As such, it is best to enjoy this delicious spice in moderation. In case of an allergic reaction, reduce intake and consult your doctor.
Where Can You Get Raw Garlic?
You can get garlic at the farmers’ market or a good grocery store. Garlic is also readily available online direct from producers.
How Much Garlic Can You Eat in a Day?
Although no official recommendation exists, studies show that eating one or two garlic cloves per day may benefit your health.