Garlic is widely used for flavoring and in an array of dishes but it has also been used throughout ancient and modern history as a form of medicine to treat conditions and diseases. Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition that the Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses, and promoted its use for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion and fatigue.
Today, garlic is used for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart, such as: high cholesterol, heart attacks, coronary heart disease, and hypertension. It is recommended that adults consume no more than one clove two or three times a day and that children have one quarter to one half a clove, once or twice a day.
According to a study carried out at the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China, people who ate raw garlic at least twice a week had a 44% lower risk of developing lung cancer. Another study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry concluded that garlic extract supplements reduced high cholesterol levels, and also blood pressure in the patients with hypertension. Although it has vast benefits, the strong scent and taste of garlic is what can cause some people to become discouraged from eating fresh raw garlic. Therefore, garlic creations that involve heating procedures have been developed. Unfortunately, this can decrease its benefits; a study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology warned that short-term heating reduces the anti-inflammatory effects of fresh raw garlic. If you’re not too fond of ingesting raw garlic, then you can buy garlic supplements or oil which have not been exposed to too much heat and you will still reap its ample benefits.
Garlic may interact with a number of medications; to be safe, if you take any prescription medicines, ask your doctor before taking garlic supplements.
Created by Melissa Martinelli