Garlic is an herb that we recommend always having on hand, in at least one of the several different forms garlic is available in. From powder, salt, and minced for cooking to fresh for both cooking and wellness — this herb has a plethora of uses besides being tasty!
Garlic: Revered or Feared?
Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated herbs dating back to more than 5,000 years ago, but its place in society has wavered. Some cultures saw garlic as an herb fit for the gods, while others found it repulsive and fit for only animal feed. Its use in society stretched the gamut of these beliefs. Garlic to many predated cultures represented romance and was thought of as an aphrodisiac. It has also been used as an antiseptic during wartime and famously, in the four thieves remedy that protected plunderers during the plague. Today we enjoy garlic for its amazing flavor and many medicinal qualities as studies have been piling up to support garlic’s use as an herbal remedy for many ailments.
Science-Backed Reasons to Eat Garlic
In modern times, garlic still enjoys being loved by many (and hated by some), but there are reasons to eat garlic that have nothing to do with flavor and everything to do with health.
Healthy Heart & Metabolic Function
Some evidence suggests that garlic may help promote heart health and fight heart disease. Garlic may assist atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and can support blood pressure slightly.
One study that lasted 4 years found that people who took 900 mg daily of standardized powder slowed the development of atherosclerosis. While it also acted as an anticoagulant, meaning it acted as a blood-thinner, (which may reduce the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes). Individuals who avoid blood thinners or have other cardiovascular issues, must consult with their doctor to ensure safety. Additionally, a 2010 placebo-controlled trial included 50 patients with hypertension. The trial concluded that aged garlic was as good as hypertension medications in lowering systolic blood pressure. Finally, research shows that garlic can also help reduce blood sugar levels as well as cholesterol levels and triglycerides.
Anti-Inflammatory & Oxidative Stress Support
Garlic is anti-inflammatory and fights oxidative stress. A review article published in Cancer Prevention Research explains that garlic and other vegetables in the allium family affect many biological processes that modify cancer risk.
More research is needed to find how garlic may assist with prevention, as well as to explore the connection between overall diet, lifestyle and cancer risk. The main takeaway is that there are so many beneficial properties in garlic, giving us all one more reason to include it in a healthy diet.