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Benefits of Garlic for Overall Wellbeing and Health

September 29th, 2009

Historically, garlic has been considered a powerful plant for preventing disease and treating common ailments.  The benefits of garlic can be obtained through cooking with the garlic cloves, or by taking one of many supplements on the market.  One major benefit of supplementing vs. cooking garlic is being able to avoid the bad breath that garlic brings to the table.

Garlic has been around through history in folklore and early medicine as long as 5,000 years ago.  In 1334 BC, during the reign of the young King Tut, 15 lbs of garlic would buy a healthy male servant.  The Greeks gave their athletes garlic to eat before a competition, and Romans gave soldiers garlic to eat before battle.   Not surprisingly, it was also used to repel snakes, insects and evil spirits. 

Today garlic is believed to help treat high cholesterol, flu, colds, fever, digestive problems, acne, circulatory problems, snake bites, infections, and coughs among many other ailments.  Eating garlic tends to boost our natural supply of hydrogen sulfide.  The amount that our bodies naturally produce tends to lessen with time, so it becomes more beneficial as we age.  

Studies on garlic’s medicinal values have been based on use of about 2 cloves of garlic per day.  It is easy to see that once garlic becomes one of your common cooking ingredients and is also taken as a supplement, it isn’t too hard to reach this amount if desired. 

Something you may not have known is that if crushing garlic for cooking it needs to sit for about 5 minutes after crushing before adding to your dish.  This triggers the enzyme reaction in the garlic that boosts the health compounds.  If you are worried about bad breath when eating food with garlic, try chewing on fennel seeds or parsley to neutralize the smell.  You can also just stick with the supplements to obtain the health benefits without even having to touch the “stinky rose”.

Supplements range from products like Now Odorless Garlic which contains just 50mg of garlic, and Now Pur Gar which has 600mg of garlic.  There are many brands on the market besides pure garlic formulas which include combinations of garlic, echinacea, goldenseal, ginger, lecithin, and cayenne just to name a few.  Unlike many other herbs and vitamins, the body does not seem to build up a resistance to garlic, so you just need to find the amount that works for you.

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