The liver is one of the important organs in the body with its many functions. It’s responsible for filtering every substance that flows into the blood vessel, maintain the blood circulation, break down the nutrients from the food then distribute them, and prevents toxic substance going through to the body. Because all of those functions, the healthy liver must be kept in a good manner.
One of the things that can be done to maintain the health of the liver is eating garlic regularly. Garlic is a plant that usually used every day as a basic seasoning for cooking. This plant is easy to grow anywhere and anytime. Besides bringing the good taste in a dish, garlic has also proven to have efficacy in maintaining the body’s health, especially the health of liver organ. Garlic contains various compound such as sulfur compound called alliin or allicin, arginine, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Each compound has its own function and role for maintaining the health of the liver organ. Here are some amazing benefits of garlic to the liver:
1. Garlic acts as a powerful antioxidant to protect against liver cancer.
The benefit of garlic to the liver as an antioxidant agent is caused by its sulfur compound. Garlic contains allicin (sulfoxides), a sulfur compound that can be converted into active ingredient called allicin (thiosulfonates) when the garlic is chopped, crushed, or minced. Allicin acts as an antioxidant to remove free radicals out of the body preventing the growth of cancer. Based on the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in October 2013, allicin in garlic can induce cell death in liver cancer cells through apoptosis mechanism (the mechanism of self-destruction). The researchers believe that garlic is a potential therapeutic agent against liver cancer.
2. Garlic can reduce cholesterol and fat accumulation in the liver.
One of the functions of the liver is making a type of cholesterol called VLDL (Very Low-Density Lipoprotein) and supports the movement of fats in the bloodstream. This type of cholesterol has an important role for the fat and energy metabolism. However, when VLDL and other cholesterols are in the high levels, these substances will damage the liver and make a fatty liver disease. The Journal of Nutrition in 2002 said that the benefits of garlic to the liver are reducing total cholesterol levels, LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein), VLDL, and triglyceride fats formed in the liver. The Nutrition Reviews 2013 has also published that regular consumption of garlic could prevent or reduce the fatty liver disease.
3. Garlic prevents liver hypertension.
Preventing liver hypertension is the other benefits of garlic to the liver. Liver hypertension is a condition when the blood pressure in the liver vessels getting high. This can happen because of various things. One of the cause is the blood vessel is no longer elastic. When this condition happens, the liver vessels will make congestion so the blood flow is turning back to the body and can’t pass through the liver. Garlic contains arginine to prevent that problem happens. Arginine is an important amino acid that keeps the liver vessels relaxes in a normal tension so the blood pressure in the liver stays in normal level.
4. Garlic can protect the liver from toxins.
The healthy liver can break down the toxins and ingest the toxic chemicals but when the liver is not in good condition, this organ unable to keep up with the toxins load. The toxins in the body are always there because the body produces a natural toxin itself called bilirubin. This toxin is a waste product from the breakdown of heme in erythrocytes (red blood cells). If this toxin stays in the liver for a long time, it can cause liver damage and hepatitis disease. The other toxin which comes from outside the body is drug’s toxins.
The overdose used of drugs such as acetaminophen (pain reliever) creates an oxidative stress for the liver causing liver toxicity. For solving this problem, consuming garlic can help to detoxify the toxin. The Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness which has published in 2009 said that benefits of garlic to the liver is protecting the liver from natural and environmental toxins with its antioxidant effect of allicin, selenium, and vitamin C contained. Selenium and vitamin C increases the action of antioxidant effect which supports in the liver detoxification and prevents the liver cell damage.
5. Garlic prevents liver inflammation.
Preventing liver to get inflammation is one of the amazing benefits of garlic to the liver. Garlic contains Vitamin B6 which can lower homocysteine levels in the body. When the homocysteine is in low level, the inflammation in the liver can be inhibited and hepatitis disease won’t occur.
The amazing benefits of garlic to the liver have been described above. Consume at least four cloves of fresh garlic daily for the optimal liver health. You can consume it as your cooked meal. When you cut or crush the garlic, just let the garlic stand for 15 minutes before use. It will increase the compounds and stimulate the enzymes to be more beneficial.