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Healthy Eating: The Benefits of Garlic

Updated on June 4, 2015
Ronna Pennington profile image

Ronna Pennington is a newspaper editor, journalist and freelance ghostwriter and adjunct instructor.

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Garlic's Past

Garlic has been around for a long time, literally since the New Stone Age period of 10,000 to 2,500 BC. Garlic is believed to have originated in Central Asia during this time period. It was used for cooking and medicinal purposes. Garlic made its way to Egypt around 3,000 B.C., used there for dual purposes as well.

Over time, people stopped using garlic as a culinary ingredient and used it primarily for medicinal purposes. Its strong odor and reputation as an aphrodisiac is likely the cause for this change. Television and movies have taught us that garlic is an anti-vampire tool, but did you know that people once believed hanging garlic bulbs on a door would keep smallpox away? The aphrodisiac stereotype went away and garlic became widely used with other flavors like ginger and onion.


Garlic Today

The National Library of Health says garlic cloves and supplements made from them are used today for medicinal purposes as well as for flavoring foods. Garlic has been used to treat many things -- high blood pressure and cholesterol, coronary heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, hay fever and more. Garlic oil is often touted as a treatment for fungal problems like ringworm and jock itch. In other words, garlic is good for you.

Incorporating garlic into your everyday life is easy, especially if you enjoy its flavor already. Sprinkle garlic powder on air popped popcorn instead of salt. You will get all the flavor with zero sodium worries! Use it instead of salting vegetables, too. You get a great flavor and get a spicy taste instead of plain, unsalted vegetables.

Add minced garlic to your spaghetti sauce for extra flavor. If you don't want to deal with the hassle of mincing your own, you can always buy prepared minced garlic in jars at your local grocery store. Look for it in the aisles with pickles, Italian foods, or in the produce section.

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