One of my favorite parts of being in the kitchen is experiencing the aroma of cooked garlic. Whether you enjoy the raw & poignant essence or the nutty taste of the small clove, you are definitely in for some power-punching flavor. A little goes a long way with these tiny cloves.
Read on to discover the many health benefits that garlic offers.
A Brief History
For many years, garlic has been used as a medicinal food source. Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, prescribed garlic to treat a variety of illnesses. These included parasites, respiratory problems, and intestinal disorders.
Ancient Olympic athletes ate garlic for its fabled “strength enhancing” properties. Today, it has been studied for its potential ability to lessen fatigue as well as improve performance.
In the Middle East and East Asia, garlic has been used as a treatment for high blood pressure, diabetes, bronchitis, and fevers.
The Secret Weapon
The secret to garlic’s powerful properties is the chemical component allicin. Allicin is a compound catalyzed by allinase, an enzyme released when garlic is crushed or cut. Allinase is inactive under high temperatures, thus it is suggested to allow garlic to sit for about 10 minutes after cutting, before letting it in the pan. This will allow allicin to form.
Studies have shown that allicin contributes to a variety of beneficial functions to the body. It lowers low-density lipoproteins while increasing high-density lipoproteins, which can prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Additionally, allicin holds many “anti-” characteristics. These include: anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-virus, and anti-oxidant properties.
Garlic also contains high sulfur levels, which makes it a great agent in defending against organ damage and heavy metal poisoning.
One study observed how a garlic supplement was able to fight colds. Here it showed a decrease of illnesses by 63% compared to a placebo group. It also reduced the time period of a cold from an average of 5 days to 1.5 days.
Recipes to Try
- This garlic soup will warm you inside & out while also fighting against colds and flus.
- Tired of the usual garlic bread? Try garlic zucchini! Tip: Use this recipe with your other favorite veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, squash, carrots, etc
- It’s a great way to sneak more veggies into your diet as well!
- Not into switching your bread for zucchini? No problem! Try one of these garlic spreads and smooth it over your favorite piece of toast, pastas, crackers, etc!
kale + garlic pesto
garbanzo garlic hummus
roasted garlic aioli
What is your favorite way to eat garlic? Like this post and leave a comment below!
By Janelle Manzano, Clinical Nutrition Student