Garlic: Aromatic, and Good for You

Westernized countries have significantly higher rates of autoimmune disease, and this rate is more than genetics and bad luck.  Diet, environmental toxins, and the composition of one’s personal gut microbiome may strongly influence our chances of developing an autoimmune disease.  Of these factors, food, is the biggest, actionable trigger for autoimmunity, and choosing wisely can  play an outsized role in managing and even reversing many autoimmune diseases.

Enter Garlic-a bulb in the onion family, and a potent prebiotic.  Prebiotic foods feed important gut bacteria which break them down into short chain fatty acids. Production of these fatty acids reduces intestinal permeability and fortifies the intestinal epithelial integrity. If there are leaks in the intestine, food and bacteria and toxins can leak out of the colon and trigger initiation and development of auto-immune diseases. Garlic, a source of fibers, inulin and oligofructose, is a major source of nourishment for the good bacteria that reside in the gut.  Gut health is a key component when it comes to healing and preventing development of auto-immune diseases. 

Garlic helps to maintain the homeostasis of the immune system. It is a master immune regulator, as it modulates cytokine secretion and down-regulates pro-inflammatory responses such as TNF alpha, IL 1beta, and IL-6 through its’ action on the main inflammatory switch, NFkB. It is also a lipoxygenase inhibitor that helps block enzymes responsible for inflammation.  It can be helpful in the treatment of arthritis and psoriasis because it contains diallyl disulfide, an anti-inflammatory compound that limits the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines.  Additionally, garlic has potent antiviral properties, and can be used at the onset of an upper respiratory illness to reduce viral load. It also has a moderate blood pressure lowering effect.

Photo by Xuan Nguyen

Kitchen-Prescription Recipe: Gremolata


1 small bunch parsley washed and dried

1 clove garlic

2 organic lemons washed and dried


  1. Remove leaves from parsley, should measure 1 cup when loosely packed. Chop parsley with chefs knife until finely chopped.
  2. Use microplane to grate garlic clove over parsley.
  3. Use microplane to grate lemon zest from two lemons.
  4. Can add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Can store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to two days. Makes a terrific condiment for fish or poultry.

Medical Mentions:

Crush slice or chop garlic before eating or cooking as it increases allicin content – the aromatic component in garlic that boosts the immune system.
Before cooking, allow garlic to stand for a few minutes as this can help prevent loss of its medicinal anti-inflammatory properties.
Garlic is controversial in lupus patients as it can be a powerful trigger for lupus symptoms and flares.  However, it can be very helpful in decreasing inflammation in arthritis, psoriasis, alopecia areata and celiac disease.

Leave a Reply