Garlic (Allium sativum) is used widely as a flavouring in cooking, but apart from imparting flavour to food, this tiny, white pod also has immense medicinal properties. Used since time immemorial to treat various ailments, garlic is one ingredient in your kitchen with many uses.
How Garlic Helps Athletes and Bodybuilders?
There is no doubt that garlic is an excellent addition to an athlete and bodybuilder's diet. As mentioned above, it has been used to treat several diseases and illnesses from ancient times, and modern science has also confirmed many of these beneficial health effects. Let’s review the five super benefits of garlic and also discuss how it can help athletes and bodybuilders.
Garlic is Rich in Nutrients
The two critical vitamins in garlic are vitamin C and vitamin B6. Vitamin C is well-known for its anti-oxidant properties. Oh, and there is that too; vitamin B1. Other than that, garlic contains manganese and selenium, both essential ingredients for the active body. Further, garlic contains calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus and iron. In addition, it can produce hydrogen sulphide and nitric oxide, both of which can relax the arteries and help increase blood flow to the muscles.
Helps in Post Workout Recovery
Garlic contains the compound allicin, which helps in relaxing the muscles after an intense workout. When those muscles relax, your blood vessels dilate, and blood pressure drops. Garlic is also antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory that aids the bodybuilder's ability to keep inflammation rates to a minimum, given the strain he is putting his body through during peak training seasons.
Improves Overall Athletic Performance
Garlic was one of the earliest "performance enhancing" substances.
It was traditionally used in ancient cultures to reduce fatigue and enhance the work capacity of labourers. Most notably, it was given to Olympic athletes in ancient Greece.
Rodent studies have shown that garlic helps with exercise performance, but very few human studies have been done. For example, people with heart disease who took garlic oil for six weeks had a 12% reduction in peak heart rate and better exercise capacity. However, a study on nine competitive cyclists found no performance benefits. Other studies suggest that exercise-induced fatigue may be reduced with garlic.
Garlic also promotes rates of exercise endurance. Historically, ancient Greek athletes ate garlic before an event to improve their performance. That's because garlic releases nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. This compound is often released while running to supply more oxygen to working muscles.
Some animal studies in rats and mice have also found that garlic can improve athletic endurance, finds 2007 from Molecular Nutrition Food Research. However, the inconclusive data in human subjects means we can't draw definitive conclusions.
Garlic contains an active compound called ‘allicin’ that gives the garlic its distinctive smell and taste. Allicin gives garlic its medicinal properties and helps fight several diseases by boosting immunity. This compound also helps in fighting viruses responsible for common cold and flu. This becomes essential as garlic in your daily diet would eventually help you to stay healthy and free of common cold and other diseases, which would result in better training and effective workouts. The best way to stay on track as a bodybuilder or athlete is to reduce the risk of becoming sick in the first place and that is exactly why garlic plays an important role in daily diet.
The Bottom Line
Garlic's health benefits are plenty but don't add too much to your diet too quickly, as tempting as it may be. Overdoing it can cause discomfort, including upset stomach, bloating, diarrhoea, body odour and bad breath.
"You may also get a stinging feeling on the skin if you handle significant amounts of fresh and dried garlic. The best way to add garlic to your daily diet is by adding an excellent multivitamin like Maximult from Epicvita, available for Men and Women, which contains the appropriate amount of garlic extract to fulfil your everyday needs. Supplementing garlic extract would help you to get all the benefits without causing any discomfort.
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Canogullari, S., Baylan, M., Erdogan, Z., Duzguner, V., & Kucukgul, A. (2010). The effects of dietary garlic powder on performance, egg yolk and serum cholesterol concentrations in laying quails. Czech Journal of Animal Science, 55(No. 7), 286–293. https://doi.org/10.17221/126/2009-cjas
Yan, L., & Kim, I. H. (2012). Effects of dietary supplementation of fermented garlic powder on growth performance, apparent total tract digestibility, blood characteristics and faecal microbial concentration in weanling pigs. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 97(3), 457–464. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0396.2012.01286.x