Garlic has a long history of use as a medicinal plant, with roots tracing all the way back to ancient China and Egypt. The main component of garlic is allicin, a plant compound that is largely responsible for garlic’s variety of health benefits. Several studies have shown that garlic can regulate blood sugar as well as promote heart health.
In one animal study, diabetic rats were given either garlic oil or diallyl trisulfide, a component of garlic. Both garlic compounds caused a decrease in blood sugar and improved insulin sensitivity. Another study fed garlic to participants both with and without heart disease. Results showed that garlic was able to decrease total blood cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol in both groups.
Garlic may be useful in the prevention of cancer as well. One test-tube study demonstrated that allicin induced cell death in human liver cancer cells. However, further research is needed to better understand the potential anti-cancer effects of garlic.
Summary: Studies show that garlic may help lower blood triglyceride levels. Some studies have also found that it could decrease blood sugar levels and may have an anti-cancer effect, although more research is needed.
5. Brussels Sprouts
Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts are a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables and contain the same health-promoting plant compounds. Brussels sprouts also contain kaempferol, an antioxidant that may be particularly effective in preventing damage to cells.
One animal study found that kaempferol protected against free radicals, which cause oxidative damage to cells and can contribute to chronic disease. Brussels sprout consumption can help enhance detoxification as well. One study showed that eating Brussels sprouts led to a 15–30% increase in some of the specific enzymes that control detoxification, which could decrease the risk of colorectal cancer.
Additionally, Brussels sprouts are very nutrient-dense. Each serving provides a good amount of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, manganese and potassium .
Summary: Brussels sprouts contain an antioxidant called kaempferol, which may protect against oxidative damage to cells and prevent chronic disease. They may also help enhance detoxification in the body.