Garlic is not only delicious in almost everything savoury, but is also packed with health benefits. It is part of the Lily family with its siblings being onions, leeks and shallots. Many cultures throughout time have recognised the medicinal and culinary benefits. Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated crops – recognised bygones ago for it’s strength and endurance properties, it was a staple for labourers working on the Great Pyramids in Egypt.
Garlic is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that our bodies love; calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, vitamin B1, B6, C, zinc, as well as 17 amino acids.
Releasing the health power of garlic is easy – just cut it and the thio-sulfinite compounds turn into allicin, a powerful antifungal and antibiotic.
It is this ‘allicin’ that is responsible for the abundant health benefits including:
- Reducing cholesterol
- Combating heart disease
- Cancer Prevention
- Reducing arterial plaque build up
- Reduction in blood pressure
- Warding off colds and flu
- Cardiovascular benefits
- Anti-Inflammatory benefits across body systems
- Antibacterial and antiviral benefits
- Improving iron metabolism
- Regulating number of fat cells that form in our body
How much should I have?
Raw, freshly minced garlic has the greatest health benefits and you should try to consume half a clove daily in your food. If you cook the garlic then you would need approximately two cloves daily to gain the same health and nutritional benefits. Garlic will add aroma, taste, and added nutrition to your dishes.
Get you daily garlic!
- Add fresh garlic to your hummus dip
- Add garlic to sauces and soups
- Mash roasted garlic, cooked potatoes, olive oil and seasoning to make delicious garlic mashed potatoes
- Mix minced garlic into pesto
- Sauté steamed spinach, garlic, and fresh lemon juice
- Add garlic to sauces, soups and butters
- Add to all things Italian!
If you want to rid your hands of the smell of garlic after adding to your cooking then run your hands under cold water whilst rubbing a stainless steel object. Likewise, if you are worried about having a garlic breath then drink some lemon juice or a chew on a few slices of lemon to eradicate the smell.
Although China is the largest garlic producer in the world, producing two thirds of the world’s garlic, I generally try to buy locally rather than imported. When choosing garlic at the grocery store, try to select firm, tight, heavy, dry bulbs.
Garlic is believed to be a great repellant to the pesky mosquito, but from my experience they still attack my garlic-filled body when I am anywhere near them. Please note that garlic is not for everyone – those on blood-thinning medication should not take garlic because it inhibits the clotting of blood. For the same reason, garlic should not be taken before a surgery.
Final facts about garlic I think are worth sharing!
- You can use it to make glue! Apparently the sticky juice of the cloves is a great adhesive, particularly for fragile items like glass.
- Cloves sliced and applied directly to your skin can help clear up both acne and cold sores.
- National Garlic Day is held on 19 April every year!
Post a Comment