Garlic and Your Health

We’ve all heard it at one point or another: “Ew! You have garlic breath!”

Yup, I sure do—and it makes me happy. Garlic is one of easiest ways for me to stay healthy.

And I love it. When I first met my Italian husband, he was so romantic (still is) he wanted to know what turned me on. Was it foot rubs? Oh yeah, those work just fine! How about ballroom dancing to music from the 40s? That definitely does it, too.

“What else?” he queried.

I didn’t want to seem too easy, so I told him the truth.


I have such a love affair going on with garlic that anyone who wants to be around me has to love it almost as much as I do or they won’t be able to stand being around me. Why? I eat it raw.

Garlic-aholics Anonymous

I’m not sure when or where my addiction to garlic started, but it’s just as strong as my dependency on chocolate. Garlic is sensual. Delightful. Delicious. Stinky. Divine. Essential. Protective (against vampires, at least – and a dozen or more heart conditions!).


Raw, roasted, added to soups or stir-fried, its aroma calls to me and its scrumptious flavor makes any and every meal better. I love garlic!

And it loves me. It must, because it does such incredibly wonderful things for my body every time I eat it—which is every day I can get it!

Benefits Galore

From the earliest of times, man has imbued garlic with almost magical powers. Folklore tells us it kills off infections and colds. It supposedly protects us from werewolves, vampires, and other creatures supernatural. It makes workers stronger and more productive. It gives athletes a competitive edge. It cures malignancies and abscesses and tumors of all ilk. It relieves headache, fatigue, and insomnia. It even increases a man’s prowess—or is it a woman’s fertility? Both? Possibly.

Today, modern science is confirming that almost all those claims are, in fact, true. (Almost all. There’s still no reliable proof about the werewolves or vampires, of course.) But hey, the benefits are awesome but not the main reason I eat it. I simply love garlic.

In biblical times, garlic was thought to be a miracle food all by itself. Today we know that allicin, the sulfer compound released when we crush, chop, or squeeze the bulbs, is the real miracle element, something Louis Pasteur discovered in 1859 when he saturated bacterial cells with garlic and watched them shrivel up and die.

Allicin is a natural, broad-spectrum antibiotic, which means it acts against a wide range of disease-causing bacteria. In other words, garlic is nature’s penicillin on steroids. A single milligram of allicin has the same antibiotic potency as 15 standard units of penicillin!

Even better yet, the body won’t develop a resistance to garlic the way it does to pharmaceutical antibiotics. Why? Because it’s natural! It doesn’t build up in our cells! It just does its job and continues on its way.

Truly one of the most valuable and versatile foods on the planet, garlic is from Allium family of vegetables, which includes onions, chives, shallots, and leeks. (Yum! I’m getting hungry!) Allium veggies not only add flavor and zest to foods, they enhance our immune-cell activity by stimulating T-cell production.

But wait! There’s more! Even if you don’t eat it—even if you simply rub it on your body—garlic inhibits germ growing and reproduction.

Got an infected toenail? Rub some garlic on it. How about slow-healing sore? Apply a garlic poultice and watch the redness and swelling disappear.

Garlic is a natural antioxidant, too, which means it protects our bodies against free-radical damage. And since it stimulates white blood cell production, it actually boosts the immune system. Defense and protection.

But it gets even better, because garlic not only inhibits bacterial growth, it also puts the brakes on microbial and fungal growth. Studies are even testing garlic’s effectiveness against methicillin-resistant infections. How could you not love the stuff?

What’s Good for the Infection is Good for the Heart

We all know that excessive cholesterol can lead to heart disease and stroke. But did you know that including garlic in your diet can help lower your bad cholesterol levels? Yup. Garlic contains compounds that serve as blood thinners. That makes it a natural blood-pressure medicine, too. Studies have shown that ingesting garlic regularly helps the arteries relax, which prevents the hardening and spasms that lead to hypertension.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Maybe—but two cloves of garlic a day minimizes the risk of heart attack, atherosclerosis, and stroke. Garlic’s natural properties protect blood vessels from inflammatory and oxidative stress, which helps prevent clots from forming and plaque from building up in the arteries.

Through its antioxidant properties, garlic keeps skin healthy and glowing and eases arthritic pain. Its high sulfur content aids our digestion while its high vitamin B6, manganese, selenium, and vitamin C content helps our overall vim and vigor.

Is low iron making you feel tired? Our circulatory systems need a constant supply of iron to produce enough red blood cells for optimum human functioning. Garlic helps increase ferroportin production, the protein that provides the bridge iron needs to leave the cells and stay in circulation. Garlic can rapidly increase hemoglobin production, which in turn increases our energy level.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do mince it. Crush it. Smoosh it. Chop it. Grind it. Have an affair with it. And then, most importantly, EAT it!

Feel a cold coming on? Smear a lard-free tortilla with avocado, cayenne pepper, and crushed garlic. What a tasty way to avoid the gleep!

Use chopped garlic in salads, fresh-pressed juices, and beans. Use garlic juice over steamed vegetables. Mince a few cloves into your favorite spaghetti sauce and hummus recipe.

Don’t waste your money on garlic capsules, and don’t microwave raw garlic because you will destroy all the nutrients in it. But do add it at the end of what you’re cooking so it will retain its flavor, aroma, and health benefits.

Are you a meat eater? Adding garlic cloves toward the end of the cooking phase reduces the carcinogens and enhances the flavor of any meat, fish, or fowl, whether roasted, baked, broiled, fried, sautéed, or grilled.

Is there anything bad about garlic? Oh, yeah—garlic breath! Take it with a little parsley or ginger root and you’ll even counteract that raunchy smell.

Did I mention that I love garlic? Get yourself some today and fall in love!