Garlic is one of the most widely-used flavorings for food, and has a host of other applications as well, from warding off insects to providing protection against vampires. Of course, you won’t really be running into any vampires (don’t tell your tweens), but you can still benefit very much from incorporating garlic into your daily routine.

One of the most surprising uses for garlic is as a sleep aid. But before we get to why it works, let’s look at the overall health benefits of garlic. It is actually relatively high in calories, with 100 per 100 grams. However, garlic is so strong in flavor that no one ever eats that much in a serving. Garlic features complex carbohydrates and proteins, plus vital minerals and vitamins like vitamin B, sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

It also contains quite a bit of allicin, a sulfur compound that gives garlic its notable smell. This is why garlic is so good for treating infections and can kill certain viruses better than antibiotics. Furthermore, garlic contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that improve the function of pretty much all of the body’s systems.

Eating garlic on a regular basis supports cardiovascular health by improving blood flow. It can reduce bad cholesterol levels and regulate blood pressure. It has been recommended for metabolic disorders and respiratory problems. Garlic is even thought to prevent premature aging by inhibiting free radical activity, and thereby holding off the development of wrinkles and fine lines.

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