I’m certainly no doctor – and I don’t even play one on TV! But you don’t have to be a medical expert to understand the many health benefits of garlic. As a longtime resident of the Garlic Capital of the World, I’m thrilled to hear that our hometown herb doesn’t just taste and smell good – it actually does a lot of good things too.
Recent studies conducted at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, led by cardiologist Matthew Budoff, M.D., showed that aged garlic extract can stop heart disease from progressing – and even, in some cases, actually reverse the buildup of plaque in arteries. This is very exciting news!
Dr. Budoff is not alone in extolling the health benefits of garlic. He recently joined other doctors and medical researchers from around the world at the International Garlic Symposium, held in March 2014 in Orange County. The symposium included presentations on garlic’s antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, and cardiovascular health benefits. Other studies over the last decade have shown that garlic can help to maintain healthy blood pressure, reduce the severity of colds and flu, and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol while raising HDL (healthy) cholesterol.
In fact, garlic has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years. The Ebers Papyrus is an Egyptian medical document dating back to 1550 B.C. that contains numerous references to garlic being used to treat everything from heart disease and headaches to bites, intestinal parasites, and tumors. Other ancient medical texts from Greece, Rome, China and India also refer to garlic’s healing powers.
So what do we make of all this? Of course, you should talk to your own doctor before taking aged garlic extract or any other nutritional supplements. But it certainly sounds like it’s a good idea to indulge in all of your favorite garlicky foods. And forgive my shameless plug, but what better place to do that than the Gilroy Garlic Festival, coming up on July 25, 26, and 27?
Here’s to your health!
Jane Howard, Executive Director
Gilroy Welcome Center
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