Facts About Garlic

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on September 14, 2017 · 0 comments

People once believed that wearing a pouch of garlic around their necks would stop them from catching a cold and would keep vampires away. Garlic’s odor could keep anyone away! Ancient Greeks found the odor so offensive that garlic eaters were barred from the main temples. Despite its odor, throughout history, garlic has been used to treat deafness, edema, leprosy and parasites. Even today, mashed garlic in water is considered a folk remedy for high blood pressure. Research has shown that garlic may actually have health benefits.

In places in the world where people eat the most garlic – China and the Mediterranean countries – there are lower rates of heart disease and some cancers. Studies have suggested that garlic reduces the amount of cholesterol made in the body. The more garlic that is eaten the less cholesterol is produced. Garlic also has infection-fighting properties. It can reduce blood sugar and lower the risk for heart disease. The amount of garlic needed to achieve these health benefits varies. Intakes of 1 glove to 100 daily have been suggested.

Garlic offers taste and interest to many dishes. Eating some is probably wise. As garlic cooks its odor and taste mellows into a rich flavor. Burn garlic and it becomes bitter. Eat it raw and garlic breath can last for up to 24 hours.

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