When researching this post about the benefits of garlic, study after study after study surfaced. There is easily enough useful information for a month of writing. One group of researchers concluded, “The accumulated knowledge over the last few years suggests that the intake of garlic by humans may either prevent or decrease the incidence of major chronic diseases associated with old age, such as atherosclerosis, stroke, cancer immune disorders, cerebral aging, arthritis, and cataract formation.” What great news! It’s inexpensive, delicious, and easy to grow. Let’s START SOMEWHERE and celebrate garlic’s potent benefits!
Garlic contains a key component called allicin, a sulfur compound formed in raw garlic after a clove is cut or crushed. Garlic has been successfully used as both food and medicine for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Egypt. French gravediggers in the 19th century drank crushed garlic in wine, believing that it would protect them from the plague. During both World Wars, garlic was given to soldiers to prevent gangrene. It was also applied to wounds and as an antiseptic to prevent infections.
Garlic contains a rich store of antioxidants which fight off free radicals that build up as we age. These harmful particles contribute to heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, cancer, and everything that we don’t want! According to researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center, garlic is showing promise in the areas of:
- Heart Disease
- Common Cold
Antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal, garlic is listed as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The main side effects from eating lots of fresh garlic are exactly what you would expect — bad breath and body odor. That’s why this herb is known as “the stinking rose.” Rare side effects from taking garlic supplements include headache, fatigue, and dizziness. Garlic can act as a blood thinner and can increase the risk of bleeding during surgery; I could not find out exactly what amount is “too much.” In my Medical Masters program, Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is the recommended form when taken as a supplement. The suggested use on the bottle is “two capsules with a meal twice daily.” It is wise to stay within those recommendations and talk to a doctor who is experienced in herbal medicine if you are concerned. I found this list of medications that garlic supplements may interact with:
- Isoniazid (Nydrazid)
- Birth Control Pills
- Blood-thinning Medications
- HIV/AIDS Medications
Whole, fresh food is always the best way to get the maximum benefits. Garlic is one of the most impressive culinary herbs to help us LIVE YOUNGER. Remember, it must be chopped or crushed to release the allicin and is best used within about 30 minutes. If you can’t tolerate it raw, which is totally understandable, add it to food and cook it minimally to retain maximum flavor and health benefits. Microwaving garlic will partially destroy the beneficial components. Grilling and roasting will not damage the bioactive ingredients. Click here for roasting information.
High quality herbs and spices are a simple way to LIVE YOUNGER. Be generous with garlic and hang out with people who do the same:) Celebrate garlic’s potent benefits. You can do it. I will help you. Thanks for stopping by.