Happy Garlic Day! In celebration of this miracle herb, we offer the following message for your reading pleasure…

For even more ideas about garlic and other miracle superfoods, take a look at The MericleDiet.

Certainly, if you have been watching any cooking shows lately as I have, you no doubt have seen chefs using garlic in abundance. Let’s explore garlic; its history and health benefits.  Garlic, even though it has gained the nickname of the stinking rose, is actually a member of the lily family.  It is a dried root native to central Asia.  Garlic was widely used more than 5000 years ago.  This herb was fed to workers who built the Great Pyramid at Giza.  In addition, Greek athletes ate it to build their strength.  In the United States, it was first cultivated in New Orleans by French settlers and later traveled with missionaries to California where it is widely grown today.  This fragrant root, botanically considered an herb, is so popular that a three day festival is held in its honor at the end of July.

These days, we think of garlic as a flavorful addition to a wide variety of recipes. But, garlic is so much more than a tasty addition to that pot of tomato sauce – garlic cloves have been used medicinally for thousands of years.  Their use has been recorded in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, Japan, India, Russia and throughout Europe.  Known as Russian penicillin, garlic has been used to treat ear infections, cholera and typhus.  As a natural antibiotic, garlic was used during both world wars as a disinfectant.  Garlic is still prized for its health benefits in modern times too.

What are the health benefits of garlic?

  • Garlic Strengthens the immune system,
  • Fights infections,
  • Helps to prevent heart disease,
  • Reduces high blood pressure,
  • Lowers LDL cholesterol,
  • Aids in proper digestion,
  • Alleviates gas,
  • Acts as an anti-inflammatory agent,
  • And more…

Studies have shown garlic can suppress the growth of tumors, and is a potent antioxidant good for managing cardiovascular conditions. It is an antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, lowers high blood pressure, and lowers bad cholesterol and fat in the bloodstream.  Garlic is also generally regarded as a natural preventive measure for colds, flu and other infectious diseases.  Its antibacterial properties help to fight infections, its cancer-inhibiting properties help to prevent cancer, and its anticoagulant properties help contribute to good cardiovascular health.  It also works as a digestive aid and relieves gas.  At least nine studies show that garlic decreases the incidence of cancer, especially cancers of the gastrointestinal tract among those who consume it regularly.  Garlic has also been used to treat intestinal worms and other intestinal parasites.  Today, garlic cloves are still being used to treat infections, specifically chest infections, digestive disorders, and thrush.  Additionally, the allicin in fresh garlic is said to aid in lowering blood sugar levels.  Allicin is released when garlic is finely chopped or crushed.  The finer the chopping or more intensive the crushing, the more Allicin is generated and the stronger the medicinal effect.  Also remember that cooking lessens the benefits of the allicin.  So, include raw garlic in your diet whenever possible.  Add some minced fresh garlic to salad dressings, salsa or soup just before serving for a boost of flavor and better health.

While there is a myth that one can ward off evil spirits by wearing garlic around one’s neck or hanging it in windows, you can be assured that it is more useful when consumed. Fresh garlic bulbs are most beneficial since the allicin and numerous other chemical compounds are still intact.  Next time you visit your local supermarket, pick up two or three heads of garlic and keep them on hand.  While raw garlic may have a pungent odor, roasting it will afford a sweet and savory taste.  You can spread roasted garlic on toast or mix it into Greek yogurt for a healthy and tasty dip.  If you really dislike the odor, you can still get the benefits of garlic in tablet form as well (see below for our favorites).

To learn more about miracle foods like garlic check out The MericleDiet right now.


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