Garlic And The Gut
Garlic has long been touted as a superfood for gut health. Archeologists have determined that garlic could have been cultivated as far back as 5,000 years ago in Egyptian and Indian cultures. This vegetable (yes, vegetable!) has a long culinary history but also has a history of being used as medicine to treat high blood pressure, bronchitis, fevers, and more.
So what is it about this fragrant, delicious food that helps our gut bacteria flourish?
What’s in garlic?
Garlic is high in inulin, a type of prebiotic fiber. It's not digested or absorbed in the stomach. It stays in the gut and helps beneficial bacteria to grow. Having these beneficial bacteria in the gut is helpful because it prevents disease-promoting bacteria from growing, keeping you healthier in the long term. Prebiotics are also known to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer and other serious diseases.
How should you eat garlic for the best results?
Eating garlic raw is how you ensure you get the most benefits, as cooking garlic is known to lose these nutritional benefits. A few delicious ways to enjoy garlic raw are:
- rub it on toast
- chop it up into a salad dressing
- add it to homemade salsa or guacamole
Some negative effects of garlic.
Like other fibers, when ingested in high quantities or too quickly, it can cause gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. So, avoid adding garlic to every meal hoping for immediate health benefits. Inulin is a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in many plants, so if you eat a high-vegetable diet, it’s likely you eat sufficient inulin already.
As always, find what works best for your body! If it doesn’t feel good, don’t eat it.