Garlic: The Wonderfood

   By estherblum  Jul 28, 2010

Garlic is an herb with so many benefits that scientists are only beginning to uncover all of its wondrous powers. With over 200 compounds in each clove, its no wonder that garlic is renowned for its ability to fight cancer and heart disease, lower blood pressure, boost immunity, and fight yeast infections.

How potent is garlic? We know that garlic is helpful in the reduction of cholesterol. One study at the University of California demonstrated that garlic powder capsules taken over a month’s time in conjunction with fish oil capsules decreased cholesterol levels by 11% with a 10% decrease in LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels and a 34% decrease in triglycerides.

Garlic also helps protect the elastic properties of blood vessels and prevent age-associated aortic stiffening. A study in Circulation (1997, p.2649-55) of 101 healthy adults who took garlic powder for at least 2 years showed decreased aortic stiffness among those patients.

Other studies have used garlic oil in their research. One study examined lipid oxidation among rats administered nicotine and garlic oil for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks, the rats showed an increase in antioxidant levels and subsequent protective effects against damage caused by nicotine. More research needs to be done in this area, especially on humans!

On the whole, people who regularly consume garlic in their diets have lower blood pressure and increased levels of antioxidants, including glutathione, in their blood. Thus, people who smoke or who are exposed to polluted air should consume garlic regularly. People who are prone to cancer should also consume garlic, along with those who are prone to frequent illness and compromised immune systems. With an ever-increasing amount of pesticides and hormones in the environment, eating garlic is a cheap but effective insurance plan against free radical attack. It is noteworthy that garlic is a rich source of selenium, which ultimately supports the immune system.

What is the best form to consume garlic? If you don’t mind the odor of fresh garlic, chop it up and mix it into soups, salads, and sauces. My personal favorite is to roast whole cloves in olive oil and add them to brown rice for a rich and creamy side dish. Most people prefer the deodorized, aged capsules, since they free of odors and won’t irritate the lining of the stomach as fresh garlic often can. It seems that all forms of garlic are potent, no matter what form is used.

Do you enjoy garlic regularly? How do you use it in cooking?


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May 06, 2011

Garlic is not only good for you but it smells really good. Garlic has a robust aroma when sauted.... it's great with salads, sauces, veggies, omlets, etc. There are so many ways that garlic can be added to everyday cooking!

Reborn2dayLuvs2save by Reborn2dayLuvs2save | Lexington, SC
Oct 02, 2010

When using garlic and wanting less odor or hubby prefers? The secret is making sure the garlic is WELL cooked, the odor will lessen the more you cook it. I prefer garlic and its a heathier alternative to table salts and other seasonings.

Purplemommi by Purplemommi | MECHANICSVLLE, VA
Aug 14, 2010

I eat an excessive amount of garlic, much to my husband's dismay. I put it in everything and prefer fresh garlic. It doesn't have as much to do with the benefits as it does with being yummy but the health benefits make me love it more.

aramisTdawg by aramisTdawg | Columbus, KS
Aug 03, 2010

I'm pretty sure you can never have too much garlic. My thought is, if the recipe calls for a clove, the whole head would make it better.

gardengirl10 by gardengirl10 | VIRGINIA BCH, VA
Aug 02, 2010

I love garlic, roasted and added to sauce or fresh in a gyro tzatziki sauce is wonderful we use it with fish and also as a dip, shrimp scampi, and a recipe from the beach with oysters, garlic, white wine, and lemon juice

swilliams316 by swilliams316 | JUSTIN, TX
Jul 28, 2010

My husband would eat garlic in cake, if I let him. We also give it to our dogs to keep the fleas away without pestisides.

acacialady by acacialady | Uvalde, TX
Jul 28, 2010

We eat garlic in many foods. We use it in sauces and marinades. But I really like to put it on our veggies from one of those sea salt and garlic drinders.....Mmmmmm!

dawnladyjane by dawnladyjane | Orlando, FL
Jul 28, 2010

Ditto, on jlindseyc's comment. My whole family enjoys it. Wow, I guess I just aged myself!:) (Ditto)!? I have been going to more vegetarian dishes, lately. I feel better, the more I stick to the veggie way.

jlindseyc by jlindseyc | LEXINGTON, KY
Jul 28, 2010

i love garlic...I like to put it in practically everything and the more the better! You can get pretty high concentrations of it by putting it in things you cook down for a while like a homemade pasta sauce.