Garlic: More Than Just a Delicious Addition 

We can all agree that garlic is a delicious addition to ALL foods, however, it is way more than just a great tasting food and smell. Garlic (Allium sativum), which is part of the Amaryllidaceae family, is a perennial plant that is native to Asia and grows in the form of a bulb under the soil. The bulb is composed of many individual cloves that are covered in a paper-like membrane. Garlic can be planted from seeds or by propagating the individual cloves, and it is very easy to grow. There are a number of benefits that garlic provide both by ingesting the bulbous vegetable and by topical application of garlic products.   

What are the Health Benefits of Garlic? 

In ancient times, garlic was used as a way to heal and prevent a multitude of different illnesses in addition to being a way to fend off evil and vampires. In Arabic culture in addition to many other cultures, different parts of the garlic plant have been used in traditional medicines to treat a variety of issues and illnesses such as constipation, high blood pressure, arthritis, toothaches, infections, and other heart diseases. The active compounds in Garlic, allicin, along with allyl methyl sulfide, ajoene, and DTS, are what cause garlic to be such a powerful tool in treating different ailments. Allicin, specifically, has a multitude of antifungal properties, however, this compound does not become active until the garlic clove is either crushed or cut, which is why it is important to cut your garlic ahead of time before cooking with it to allow the allicin compound to activate. Additionally, the compound ajoene is the most active antiviral compound in garlic and DTS is known for acting against yeast. All of these compounds combined make garlic antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral.   Garlic can be consumed semi-cooked or raw to obtain the benefits. Garlic is also known for reducing blood pressure, purifying the blood, regulating blood sugar levels, and lowering cholesterol levels. The antioxidants in garlic help with other issues such as infections, fungal infections, eczema, protects skin cells which helps with aging, may reduce dementia, and can prevent or reduce the risks of getting the common cold or flu. Lastly, garlic can help fend off unwanted bugs and insects. 

bowl of garlic

Ways to Consume Garlic

Individual garlic cloves are full of medicinal properties, however, they are also full of flavor. There are many different ways to eat and cook with garlic, whether you prefer your garlic roasted or raw. When roasting garlic, you can cut off the top of the bulbs, wrap the bulb in tinfoil with a drizzle of olive oil and roast in the oven until the garlic becomes creamy and can be eaten as a spread. Garlic is extremely nutritious and contains trace amounts of manganese, vitamin C, fiber, calcium, iron and other nutrients. The less cooked the garlic is the more antibacterial, antiviral, and antibacterial effects it has. Garlic adds the perfect touch in many ways such as adding garlic infused oils to food for flavor, adding raw garlic to toast when you feel a cold coming on, or adding garlic to any sauce or dressing.

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