Entering a restaurant or a home in which garlic is a main cooking ingredient can get your mouth watering and taste buds tingling. Garlic is not only flavorful – it’s pungent! If you’re shy about loving garlic – we’re here to give you a few reasons to embrace the “stinking rose.”
BENEFITS OF GARLIC
Garlic is a pungent member of the lily or allium family, which also includes onions, leeks and chives. Garlic may not always bring good luck, protect against evil, or ward off vampires although it can transform a meal with its singular aroma and flavor.
GARLIC IS RICH IN:
- thiosulfinates (includes allicin)
- sulfoxides (includes alliin)
- dithiins (includes ajoene)
You don’t need to remember any of those names, unless you are a Jeopardy contestant, although you should remember this… garlic is good for you.
- Garlic (powder or raw) lowers cholesterol by a moderate amount (up to 15%).
- Garlic has shown some restorative properties for vascular health, meaning it repairs clogged and damaged blood vessels which are risk factors for atherosclerosis and heart attacks.
- Garlic’s sulfur-containing compounds helps prevent clots from forming inside of our blood vessels.
- Garlic has been shown to lower blood pressure.
- Garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties go to work on our musculoskeletal system and respiratory system. This is good news for arthritis sufferers.
- Preliminary studies show that garlic can hinder fat cells during their development (into adipocytes) which is good news for those fighting obesity.
ANTI-BACTERIAL AND ANTI-VIRAL
- For centuries, garlic has been used as a cure for a variety of bacterial and viral infections including infections due to yeast, fungi and worms.
- Crushed fresh garlic is used to help prevent infection by the bacterium pseudomonas aeruginosa suffered by burn patients.
- Garlic has been an effective treatment for stomach ulcers.
Garlic is rich in manganese, calcium, phosphorus, selenium and vitamins B6 and C, so it’s good for bones as well as thyroid. Last but not least, garlic improves the way that our bodies metabolize iron.
- High garlic intake (once per day) has been found to lower risk of virtually all cancer types except cancer of the prostate and breast cancer.
- Moderate garlic intake (several times per week) has lowered the risk of colorectal and renal cancer.
GARLIC IN THE KITCHEN
Garlic flakes, powder or paste can be used in a pinch, although fresh garlic is preferred by chefs (and taste buds). Store fresh garlic in either an uncovered or
a loosely covered container in a cool, dark place away from exposure to heat
Raw chopped or minced garlic is found in many recipes. If cooking with garlic,
add the chopped garlic late in the recipe to preserve its flavor and nutrients.
Black garlic is not a different type of garlic but is regular garlic that has been fermented at 140o to 170o F for 30 days and then left to oxidize for an additional
The result is a garlic clove that looks black, is soft and chewy. The flavor has
been described as similar to balsamic vinegar and soy sauce with a sweet “prune-like” taste.
Black garlic retains the health benefits of raw garlic, and in some case may
increase the benefits. Research is pending on black garlic vs. raw garlic. Black
garlic can be purchased online and in many grocery stores. Whether raw or cooked, black or white, garlic is a heart healthy food you can enjoy any day of the week.