Garlic to me is what grilled cheese and meatloaf is to others: comfort food. Growing up in a household that predominately ate Italian foods, there were few meals that were not graced with the presence of garlic. My mother’s hands are stained with the scent of fresh cut garlic from being in the kitchen every day preparing meals for me and my family. When I miss her, all I have to do is crack open a clove and I am transported home.
Lucky for me, April is National Garlic Month. This is an opportunity to celebrate the bountiful attributes that this meek aromatic brings to the table and to our bodies. Not only does garlic add flavor and personality to food, research has shown promising health benefits from consuming 1-2 teaspoons of garlic a day.
Garlic may be effective in slowing the development of heart disease and cancer (particularly breast, colon and prostate) in some individuals, and assisting in the management of diabetes and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Some studies have shown garlic to increase immunity in regular consumers, thereby protecting against the common cold and flu virus.
The applications don’t stop there. Though the research is not conclusive, garlic is sometimes used for treating osteoarthritis, hay-fever and traveler's diarrhea. Other uses for garlic include indigestion, fighting fatigue, preventing tick bites, treating bacterial and fungal infections, headache, stomachache, sinus congestion, gout, rheumatism, hemorrhoids, asthma, bronchitis and snakebites.
Let’s not forget that garlic is also proven to be an effective vampire repellent.