Benefits of Garlic

History of garlic

This fragrant bulb was valued so highly in ancient Egypt, that not only was it used as a form of currency, but they recorded its qualities on the walls of the Great Pyramid at Giza. The laborers that built the pyramid were fed chickpeas, onions, and garlic to give them the strength to complete their awesome task.

A weapon against heart disease

Several of the separate qualities that make garlic so important to overall health combine to form one big heart disease-fighting package. Because it lowers bad cholesterol, increases good cholesterol, and helps prevent blood clots, you can battle atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke in one fell swoop.

There may be no other single food that lowers cholesterol as dramatically as this simple seasoning. In one study, test subjects ate one-half to one clove of garlic every day for eight to twenty four weeks. Their cholesterol levels dropped by as much as 9 percent.

Other studies have discovered a compound that thins your blood and helps prevent your platelets from clumping together. This means fewer blood clots that could lead to heart attacks and stroke.

And last, experiments show that eating garlic can lower high blood pressure. Just by adding garlic to your diet, you can reduce the risk of all forms of heart-related diseases.

Healing properties

Antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. These are the three big healing properties of garlic. For thousands of years, man has been using garlic in folk remedies to treat all kinds of ailments, everything from leprosy to deafness. But since scientists discovered chemical properties in garlic that fight bacterial, viral and fungal infections, they are approving many of these ancient cures.

They say that although garlic may not cure leprosy, it will attack strep throat, urinary tract infections, influenza, intestinal disorders, candidiasis, and various bacteria. It goes after H. pylori , the ulcer-causing bacteria and takes out staph and yeast infections. Eat it for diarrhea, bronchitis, asthma, and gallbladder disorders.

If you think that garlic is the super food of the future, you may be pleased to discover that scientists are beginning to think that too. They are conducting more research than ever before in order to learn all of garlic’s healing secrets.

Fight against cancer

Perhaps the most exciting area of garlic research is in cancer prevention. The USDA rated garlic as having the highest antioxidant level of all the common vegetables, which means it can really battle those cancer-causing free radicals.

How does it do this? Scientists know that garlic contains selenium, a trace mineral necessary to the antioxidant enzyme, glutathione peroxidase. They also know that selenium can do the same job as vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant. There may be other characteristics of garlic that give it that cancer-fighting one-two punch, but the bottom line is that studies have proven that a diet rich in garlic protects against a variety of cancers by boosting your immune system and reducing the growth of malignant cells.

Elephant garlic
Elephant garlic

Choosing Garlic

Buying garlic can be quite complicated nowadays.  There are so many varieties and sizes of garlic to choose from.  You can select produce grown anywhere from California to Europe, with cloves ranging from bean-size to softball-size.  There is the small, young variety called green garlic, which is quite mild in flavor, and the traditional American garlic which is white and very strong-tasting.  With a flavor somewhere in between is the pinkish Mexican and Italian garlics.  The largest is, of course, the elephant garlic, produced mainly in California.  This type can grow to the size of a grapefruit.  To find this mild garlic that is really a leek, however, you may have to visit a gourmet food store.

Choose garlic bulbs that are firm, fresh looking, not soft or moldy.  The outer white husk should be dry and can peel off easily.  If the garlic has sprouted or that breaks apart, it means the bulbs are not fresh.  This type of garlic should be avoided.  Do not use any cloves that have turned brown.

Garlic can be kept for as long as six months if you store it in a cool, dark place with good air circulation.  However, the sooner you use it, the stronger the flavor will be.

To get the most health benefit and the best flavor, crush or chop the cloves, since this causes a chemical reaction that releases important enzymes and the distinctive garlic odor.  If you want to get rid of garlic breath, suck on a lemon or chew a sprig of parsley.

Garlic is inexpensive, abundant, and healthy – so are you cooking with it tonight? 

Garlic cuisines that always make me hungry

garlic bread
garlic bread
garlic chicken
garlic chicken
shrimp with garlic
shrimp with garlic
meatball cooked with garlic
meatball cooked with garlic
roasted garlic on asparagus
roasted garlic on asparagus

How to Plant Garlic

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Comments 10 comments

ma45frost profile image

ma45frost 5 years ago from USA Author

ripplemaker and kafsoa: Thanks for the nice comments. Thanks to all those who have voted for this hub.

eatlikenoone and deborah: I love garlic! Can't go without it in my cooking. I have also learned something from the video :)


Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 5 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Congratulations on your hubnuggets nomination. I love this hub, and I cook almost everything with lots of garlic. Next on my list, trying to grow it myself. Thanks for the video.

Namaste.


eatlikenoone profile image

eatlikenoone 5 years ago from Saline, MI

Great hub! I like to grow garlic myself as well as buying it at the farmer's market. I found one vendor last year that had 10-12 different varieties.


kafsoa profile image

kafsoa 5 years ago

this is a real useful hub, I'm gonna vote for it although it's of of the competitors' hubs ;) Good luck all.


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Oooh the picture of the garlic bread is making me hungry! I want to eat one now! LOL But I still have to congratulate you! So will have to eat later. :) This link will show you some garlicky news..your hub has been nominated! Do check it out! http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/74305#post1612647 Best of luck!


ma45frost profile image

ma45frost 5 years ago from USA Author

Mike: Just think of the health benefits it can give :) http://hubpages.com/health/10-Super-Health-Benefit...


ma45frost profile image

ma45frost 5 years ago from USA Author

novascotiamiss: I definitely learned something from writing this hub. I've planted garlic before but didn't have the right technique. Glad you find the hub interesting.

ChristineVianello: I use garlic daily for cooking. Love the taste and smell! Thanks for reading.


Mike 5 years ago

Well researched. May have to add more to my diet. The dishes pictured look great...except for the asparagus.


ChristineVianello profile image

ChristineVianello 5 years ago from Philadelphia

Love this hub! I also like the video about planting garlic. Being italian, garlic is used in almost everything!


novascotiamiss profile image

novascotiamiss 5 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

Interesting hub. I especially like the video about planting your own garlic, one thing that I will definitely try out. The only downside to garlic is the odour that your body creates.

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