Garlic Helps Protect the Skin Against UV Radiation
Did you know that garlic is good for the skin and like other antioxidant-rich foods, it can protect the skin from the aging effects of UV radiation? This, however, does not mean that you should head to the beach without wearing sunscreen! High quality sunscreen and clothing are the most effective forms of sun protection and should be your first line of defense against the skin-damaging ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun.
The ability of garlic to protect the skin has been linked to a natural compound called allicin. This organosulfur compound is produced when raw garlic is sliced, chopped or crushed. Allicin has received a lot of attention in recent years due to its exceptionally strong antioxidant properties.
Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays causes your body to generate free radicals, unstable molecules that promote premature aging of the skin. Antioxidants, such as allicin present in garlic, neutralize free radicals and thus help mitigate the negative effects of UV radiation.
In addition to delivering allicin, raw garlic helps protect the skin due to its high concentration of zinc and selenium. Although zinc and selenium are not antioxidants as such, they play a key role in the antioxidant system of the body.
Furthermore, raw garlic is supercharged with vitamin C: ounce for ounce, raw garlic contains more than twice as much vitamin C as fresh tomatoes! Vitamin C is well known for its ability to scavenge free radicals caused by exposure to the sun, but it may also be useful for people with pigmentation problems and inflammatory skin conditions. In addition, vitamin C in garlic can help prevent pre-mature aging of the skin by supporting healthy collagen production.
Potential Side Effects of Garlic
Most people can eat garlic on a regular basis without experiencing serious side effects. However, although garlic usually does not cause dangerous side effects, it may cause mild side effects such as bloating and gas, pungent odor in the breath and sweat, heartburn, and dizziness. Many people also experience a burning sensation in the mouth after eating raw garlic. People who are intolerant or allergic to garlic may also experience more severe symptoms such as allergic skin reactions, difficulty breathing, a runny nose, coughing, abdominal pain, or swelling of the mouth or tongue. Luckily, allergic reactions to garlic are uncommon.
In addition to people who are allergic to garlic, people who have a bleeding disorder or who take anti-coagulant or antiplatelet drugs are often advised to avoid garlic. Due to its ability to prolong bleeding, garlic (especially raw garlic) should also be avoided before a surgery. Furthermore, pregnant and breast-feeding women should talk to their doctor before using garlic.