While you might find it a bit pungent and gross, garlic is a very important herb that you should be adding to your cooking or even eating raw, because it has many health benefits, especially when it comes to your immune system. It has a lot of uses in cooking, because it’s a great seasoning and adds a lot of flavor, though it does have a pretty distinct scent to it.
One of the most important things that garlic does for your immune system is increase the number of white blood cells that you have. These cells are responsible for finding, targeting, and killing off foreign cells that carry disease, and they’re your strongest defense against illness. Without enough of them, your body can get overwhelmed by the infection, leading to you becoming sick. By eating garlic and boosting your numbers, you increase the chance of them finding the diseases before they get a chance to spread.
Another benefit that garlic proves you with is improved blood flow. This is good for a number of reasons, but when it comes to the immune system, it helps detect diseases sooner. As your white blood cells circulate throughout your body, they’re on the lookout for anything that they don’t recognize so that they can flag it as a threat and attack it. As your blood circulates better, your white blood cells have an easier and faster time running through the blood looking for diseases.
It’s been well documented that stress can easily lead to a weakened immune system. Stress causes your body to release certain hormones that make your immune system less effective, but fortunately garlic may change that. Garlic has been found to stop the release of stress hormones, making you feel less stressed and helping keep your immune system running strong.
The healthiest way to get the benefits you want out of garlic is to eat it raw. Understandably, many people aren’t too fond of this, because the smell, taste, and side effects can be a bit overpowering. When you eat garlic on an empty stomach, this may cause a burning sensation in the mouth or stomach, heartburn, vomiting, diarrhea, bad breath, nausea, gas, and body odor. These side effects often worsen with raw garlic. By cooking it you’re reducing that smell and taste a lot, but you also lose some of the benefits. You can get the benefits of garlic out of some forms of supplements, pills that have been loaded up with the chemicals that make garlic helpful. These are tasteless and odorless, making them a great alternative if you really just can’t stand the taste or effects of raw garlic.