Garlic is the king of the culinary world. It is known to provide an aromatic touch to every cuisine in the world. This versatile vegetable is high in beneficial sulfur compounds that give it a distinctive flavor and aroma. But recent studies have shown that this handy bulb has more qualities than just lending its flavorful touch to dishes. Recent researches have proved that garlic has been efficient in treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes effectively. But first let us consider what diabetes is.

A complex group of diseases caused by a number of reasons, diabetes is a chronic condition where the body produces too little insulin or the cells do not respond to the insulin produced. Insulin is a hormone which helps the body to use digested food for its growth and producing energy, failing which the body develops various metabolic disorders. Diabetes that stays over a period of time can cause other health problems too like damage to eyes, kidneys and nerves, while the chances of heart stroke are always high.

In conjunction to the usual treatments for insulin and diet, garlic could also provide a range of benefits for diabetic patients, or for people prone to the disease.

Benefits of consuming garlic in diabetes:

1. Controls blood sugar level

It has been proven that diabetic people who take garlic supplements along with their diabetes medication have better control over their blood sugar levels. Garlic also improves the cholesterol and triglyceride (unused calories stored in fat cells) levels in the body, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disorders.

2. Raises insulin levels in the blood

Garlic contains compounds like allicin, allyl propyl disulfide (pale yellow liquid emitting a strong odour) and S-allyl cysteine sulfoxide (alliin – natural sulfoxide in garlic) that increases the insulinlevels in the blood by preventing of the liver from removing of insulin, so that more insulin is available in the body. It also reduces insulin resistance of the body, thus reducing the risk of diabetes.

3. Reduces glucose in the blood stream

Garlic contains more than 400 chemical components many of which help regulate blood glucose. Garlic potentially stops or lowers the effects of some diabetes complications and fights infections. It also reduces LDL cholesteroland aids in blood flow.

4. Improves blood cholesterol

Garlic significantly improves blood cholesterol levels in the human body. Regular intake of garlic reduces total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body and moderately raises HDL (good) cholesterol.

5. Has hypoglycemic properties

Garlic has hypoglycemic enzymes that help reduce the risk of diabetes in people who have a family history of diabetes. It also helps in reducing the insulin requirements of the body bringing down the triglyceride cycle along with decreasing the glycemic index and cholesterol, thus reduces risk of heart diseases.

Ways to consume

Add some finely chopped garlic cloves to your salads, eat them raw or cook them with veggies, in soups or curries. This will not just help you stay healthy but will also enhance the taste of your food.

Expert tips

A study titled ‘Effect of garlic supplement in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM): a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials’ confirms that garlic can contribute to improved blood glucose stimulation in 1–2 weeks and can have positive effects in controlling the level of cholesterol and high/low density lipoprotein in 12 weeks.

1. It is generally believed that raw garlic consumed on an empty stomach works like a magic medicine for the body. But there is no scientific evidence to support it.

2. Consult your physician on the consumption of garlic or garlic supplements along with diabetes medication so that they do not pose a threat to overall health.

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