National Garlic Day: Then And Now of Garlic

What we know about garlic

National Garlic Day is held annually on April 19th. Why are we paying our respects to this tiny stinky bulb? Let’s take a brief look at the history, the benefits and ways to celebrate garlic this year.

For thousands of years, garlic was believed to have medicinal properties and modern day, science has confirmed it. According to Pharmacogn Rev., 2010, “At the time when antibiotics and other pharmacy products did not exist, a bulb of garlic itself represented a whole pharmacy industry due to the broad spectrum of effects...In the past, garlic has been utilized as a remedy during the various epidemics such as typhus, dysentery, cholera, influenza, and whenever an epidemic has emerged, garlic has been the first preventive and curative remedy.” 

In ancient China garlic has been used as a remedy since 2700 BC. Along with other ancient civilizations such as the: Sumerians, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, Israelites, Tibetans, Romans and many others. Throughout history people have used garlic for an immense range of purposes. Here are four reasons why:

  1. Garlic is known to boost the function of the immune system. It can help you fight off every day illnesses like the flu or a cold.  The antioxidants found in garlic reduce cell damage and aging which can prevent certain diseases.
  2. Garlic is very nutritious and doesn’t have very many calories. Instead of adding a lot of salt, oils or butters to food, adding a clove of garlic enhances the flavor of whatever you are making and is vitamin rich.
  3. Garlic can reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. 
  4. Garlic has antibiotic, antibacterial and antimycotic action because of allicin and other sulfur compounds.

An article by Healthline makes the connection that these beneficial properties of garlic can help support a healthy diet for people with type 2 diabetes.  “Traditionally, garlic has been recommended to help reduce high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Garlic consumption may also reduce the incidence of heart disease, a condition that affects approximately 80 percent of people with diabetes.”

Ways to celebrate garlic:

  • Head to a garlic festival! See and try various types and uses of garlic.
  • Eat garlic raw - whether it is added to guacamole, salsas, salads, dressings, or sprinkled on toast, pickle your garlic, eating garlic raw will add zest, flavor and nutrition to your food.
  • Eat garlic cooked - roast your garlic (a whole clove!) you can do it on a grill or bake it in the oven.  Saute garlic as the base for any of your sauces or dishes. 
  • Drink your garlic - add garlic to your tea, make a garlic oil for drizzling, have a spoonful of honey with garlic, ferment your garlic. Think of this as an immunity shot.

The Garlic Aftermath

Get rid of the smell

It might be keeping the vampires and evil spirits away but you certainly don’t want it to keep your loved ones away!  If soap and water don’t get rid of the odor on your hands or dishes, try splashing with vinegar or rubbing a lemon rind on your hands or cutting board. Don’t forget to take a big bite of an apple (nature’s toothbrush and mouthwash) if you have bad breath. The acidity of the apple can fight off odor causing bacteria. 

Side effects of garlic

Usually mild or uncommon, garlic can cause heartburn (for people who have acid reflux), bad breath or body odor. As with any healthy diet it is important to eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and ingest things in moderation. 

Maintain a healthy eating plan

Having a healthy eating plan designed to be nutritious, high in protein and fiber, and low in fat and calories is always important - just try adding some extra garlic for the flavor and health benefits. Diabetes diets include carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which you can and should ingest, in moderation. Want to learn how to continue creating a balanced diet that supports your life with type 2? Join our free diabetes support group: Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together.