Records show that humans have been using garlic at least since the pyramids were built at Giza, and as with many of the supremely healthy foods that are part of the 123Diet, garlic has a long history of being recognized for its incredible health effects.

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Famous Greek physican Hippocrates would actually prescribe garlic as medicine, and cultures as varied as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Romans and Chinese have also revered garlic for its medicinal effects.

Garlic, or allium sativum, is a plant from the allium family, which is the same one as the equally odorous onions in addition to shallots and leeks. Like its cousins, garlic is quite low calorie: one clove of garlic will contain only 4.5 calories, 0.2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of carbohydrates.

Though the small amount of garlic most people consume at any given meal means that it is unlikely to make a significant dent in your micro-nutrient intake, a clove of garlic also contains trace amounts of the minerals manganese, selenium, calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, and iron as well as the vitamins B6, C, and B1.

One study found that a garlic supplement reduced the number of colds subjects experienced and the number of days their symptoms lasted if they did happen to catch one. Another study found that garlic reduced the severity of both cold and flu symptoms experienced by subjects and improved their markers of immune health.

Garlic gets much of its health power from its abundant antioxidants, which may allow it to protect us from certain toxins. One study done on employees of a car battery plant found that garlic reduced blood lead levels more effectively than the drug D-penicillamine, while others found that it may protect against alcohol-induced liver damage and toxin-induced cognitive deficits.

Garlic supplementation has also been found to help reduce the oxidative damage usually associated with high blood pressure, and to lower blood pressure in high blood pressure patients over a 12 week period. Garlic may do this by boosting our natural supply of the compound hydrogen sulfide, which can signal the body to relax blood vessels and increase blood flow.

Multiple studies also suggest that study reduced bad cholesterol and increased good cholesterol; one even showed that it did so more effectively than the medication Atenolol! However, note also that the dose used in some of these studies was a fairly high one, of around four cloves per day!

A compound found in garlic oil called diallyl trisulfide has also been shown to help reduce the damage caused by heart attacks and help protect diabetes patients from cardiomyopathy (their leading cause of death!).

Garlic made our list of best herbs and spices for weight loss because of its potential fat-burning properties, and evidence suggests that it may also help improve certain aspects of metabolic syndrome, including fasting blood glucose and waist circumference.

Studies also show that garlic may have antibacterial properties. Since early labor can sometimes be caused by infections during pregnancy, consuming more garlic while pregnant may reduce your risk of preterm delivery.

Plus, adding garlic to your food may help preserve it. Garlic has also been found to be a hundred times more effective than two popular antibiotics at fighting the Campylobacter bacterium, which can cause food borne illness.

However, it won't have the nasty good-bacteria decimating effects that typical antibiotics tend to have. Instead, garlic contains the prebiotic fiber inulin and the prebiotic sugar known as fructooligosaccharide. Garlic consumption has thus been shown to promote the growth of beneficial Bifidobacteria in the intestines.

Rat studies also suggest that garlic may help aging women combat osteoperosis by increasing their estrogen levels, while a human study done on post-menopausal women showed that taking garlic tablets decreased markers of estrogen deficiency. Another human study directly suggested that women whose diet was richest in allium vegetables like garlic had the lowest rates or osteoarthritis.

This may be partially due to garlic's proven anti-inflammatory properties, which also make it an ideal food choice for speeding up your recovery after a workout. Garlic has additionally been found to improve exercise performance in heart disease patients, and may give other athletes a performance boost by reducing their fatigue. These effects are so strong that athletes in ancient Greece were actually given garlic before the Olympics!

One study showed that eating raw garlic at least twice a week over a seven year period reduced participants' risks of developing lung cancer by 44 percent. Compounds found in garlic have also been identified as potentially effective in destroying glioblastoma cells, and men who ate more garlic were also found to be at a lower risk of prostate cancer.

Garlic also made our list of natural diuretics, so it could be a good choice if you've been retaining water because it's that time of month. This effect comes from the compound allicin, which is actually also the compound that gives garlic its strong smell.

However, allicin is only produced when the allinase enzyme activates alliin, and this enzyme is only released once you chop your garlic. You should thus let your garlic sit for ten to 15 minutes before you cook it so that this effect has time to take place.

Heating still seems to reduce some of garlic's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, so raw garlic is your healthiest best. If you find it's taste objectionable, try sandwiching your raw garlic between apple slices or diluting the flavor using it in a salad dressing, such as in the Tarragon And Garlic Infusion recipe below.

If you're a fan of raw garlic but also enjoy it cooked, you're free to combine the two forms for a double garlic whammy, as is recommended in our Garlic Spinach recipe.

Since garlic is so flavorful and so healthful, it's present in quite a lot of our 123Diet recipes, which is quite fortunate since some experts recommend using a clove or two every time you cook!

Some other recipes where garlic is star of the show include the garlic variation of our mini-toast croutons, garlic and onion spiced chard, creamy garlic prawn noodles, and garlic prawn pizza.

Garlic will be freshest in the fall, and you should look for plump bulbs that have tight skin and that are free of mold and sprouts. Then, store your garlic in a cool dark place until you're ready to use it.

If you're worried about garlic breath, one study suggests that eating mint, apples, or lettuce after you eat garlic can help neutralize the odor. Others have found that the odor diminishes if they chew fennel seeds, or on some plain old sugar-free gum. Or, if you really can't handle the smell of fresh garlic, you can try aged "black garlic," which has a less pungent aroma but shares most of garlic's health benefits.

As for why garlic is mythologized as a killer of vampires? It may be because garlic has been found to repel real-life bloodsucking insects like ticks and mosquitoes, an effect that's so strong that it's even an ingredient in some pesticides!

However, you may want to avoid garlic if you suffer from acid reflux since it can relax the lower esophageal sphincter. Garlic can also cause nausea, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms when consumed in excess.

Finally, garlic can interfere with certain heart medications, certain HIV medications, and certain diabetes medications, so check with your doctor if any of those categories apply to you before going totally garlic-crazy.

Tarragon and Garlic Infusion/Marinade

Tarragon and garlic marinade

Spice up your favorite entree with this tasty tarragon and garlic infusion! Estimated nutritional value of 59 calories, .6g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 6.4 g carbohydrates, .5 g fiber, 1.6 g protein, and 1.6 g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
Makes 1-2 servings


  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh tarragon
  • ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground black or white pepper

Pour vinegar and lemon juice into a lidded jar. Add sprigs of tarragon, garlic, onion, and spices. Marinate overnight or up to a week. Enjoy with fish, chicken, or as a marinade or dressing.

Recipe provided by

Roasted Garlic Chicken

Roasted garlic chicken

This easy chicken dish packs a big punch thanks to good old garlic! Estimated nutritional value of 303 calories, 5.9 g fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 23.6 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 36.6 g protein, and 1.7 g sugar.

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook time
20 minutes
Makes 1 serving (1 protein, 1 Melba toast)


  • 100 grams chicken sliced
  • 1 serving melba toast crumbs
  • ¼ cup chicken broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 2 cloves of garlic sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Marinate chicken in liquid ingredients. Add dry spices to Melba toastcrumbs and coat chicken with the herbed mixture. Place chicken in a small baking dish and add marinade to the bottom. Cover the chicken breast withslices of garlic and bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until thoroughly cooked and lightly brown. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Phase 3 Modifications
Baste chicken breast with olive oil. Add parmesan cheese to make the coating.

Recipe provided by

Garlic Spinach

Garlic spinach

Enjoy all the health benefits of garlic and spinach in this simple recipe! Estimated nutritional value of 60 calories, 1.3g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 7.7 g carbohydrates, 2.1 g fiber, 5.1 g protein, and 2.4 g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
10 minutes
Makes 1-2 servings (1 vegetable)


  • 2 cups spinach
  • ½ cup chicken broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed and minced
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

Sauté the onion and garlic lightly in frying pan with a little water and lemon juice until soft. Add fresh garlic and spices. Stir in fresh spinach leaves and cook lightly. Serve with your favorite chicken or fish dish.

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