More than a vampire’s nightmare: Garlic’s stinky truth

It’s not every day you see people beat brides-to-be with garlic stalks. Though it is said that garlic beatings protect brides from illness and ensure they have healthy children, most “Say Yes to the Dress” participants steer clear from such a practice.

Moreover, garlic serves more purposes than sending Edward Cullen running or driving away evil spirits. So whether it’s for medicinal use or a bad breath enforcer, garlic continues to be more than just an everyday spice.

McKinley health educator, Justine Karduck, takes a look at the bulb of truth behind garlic.

*Garlic is a medicinal food: TRUE*

The remedial use of garlic can be traced back thousands of years. In fact, Hippocrates prescribed garlic for intestinal disorders, wounds and even toothaches, while Aristotle deemed it as a “tonic.”

“(Garlic) has some health benefits that include antimicrobial, antithrombotic, antihypertensive, lipid-lowering, anti-aging and cancer-preventative properties,” said Karduck.

It contains chemical compounds that help boost immunity, fight infection and lower blood pressure. One of garlic’s most helpful substances, Allicin, breaks down other chemical compounds to their basic structures, which in turn gives your body natural antibiotics.

Those who want to enjoy garlic’s health benefits without the bad breath often resort to taking garlic supplements.

*Cooked garlic is better for you than raw garlic: FALSE*

You’ll receive the best health boost if you consume garlic raw or lightly cooked since cooking destroys the Allicin ingredient. The finer the chopping, the more Allicin is produced, which creates a greater remedial effect.

“Raw garlic is actually better for you,” said Karduck. “It is the best way to get all of the nutrients that garlic offers.”

Remember to keep in mind though, that consuming too much raw garlic can cause gastrointestinal irritation or damage to the digestive tract.

*Garlic gives people bad breath: TRUE*

Poor hygiene is not always the cause of bad breath. The foods you eat may also cause you to dig out your pack of Orbit.

“Garlic can cause bad breath, but these odors do not start in your mouth. They are absorbed from foods that are in your digestive system,” said Karduck. “(They) are then carried by the blood stream to the lungs where they are exhaled.”

The properties within garlic are similar to consuming raw onions, which can leave your breath begging for mouthwash for hours.

*Garlic should be consumed every day: TRUE*

Including garlic in your meal plan proves to be beneficial both for medicinal purposes and to improve your everyday diet.

“I would suggest incorporating garlic into your diet. You do not just have to eat garlic raw or in everything,” said Karduck.

“You can eat foods such as hummus or garlic bread, and season your food with garlic powder.”

In order to experience the benefits of garlic, Karduck suggests about five or more cloves a day. She adds that the Spanish Morado garlic is especially effective.

_Eli is a freshman in DGS._