Garlic is a spice I use daily in my cooking, especially in salad dressings and skillet meals for flavor and for a boost of antioxidants. Garlic is a allium, which is in the same family as onions, shallots, leeks, and chives. Garlic has been used for centuries in cooking for adding flavor but also for medicinal reasons due to the antioxidants! The flavor of garlic resembles onions or shallots (since they’re all in the same family), but has a very distinct aroma and taste- slightly sweet, pungent, bitter, with “heat” to it especially when eaten raw.
How to use | roasted with vegetables, proteins, and other ingredients; sauteed, in soups, stews, salad dressings, sauces, garlic bread, stir-fry dishes, etc. My favorite way to have garlic is by roasting whole cloves alongside vegetables in the oven, the garlic becomes tender and almost sweet.
Health benefits of GARLIC
Antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral benefits. May help kill the overgrowth of H. pylori (left untreated causes stomach ulcers and other digestive issues).
Fights yeast, candida albicans
May help increase iron absorption (especially great for vegetarians/vegans), by eating alongside iron rich foods. Garlic contains diallyl sulfides which have been shown to help increase ferroportin, a protein involved in iron stores and availability of.
Good source of the mineral selenium, which is an antioxidant great for inflammation.
Anti-cancer protection, mainly from the sulfur-containing compounds
Sulfur-containing molecules in garlic help our cardiovascular systems by expanding our blood vessels, which may be due to the hydrogen sulfide gas produced.
Garlic has also been shown to help decrease overall cholesterol and triglycerides, by protecting the body from oxidative damage and blood vessel damage. The sulfur-containing compounds in garlic are responsible for most of the cardiovascular and cholesterol lowering benefits (some include allin, allicin, and allixin).
Anti-inflammatory compounds in garlic (1,2-DT and thiacremonone) inhibit the “messenger” molecules in the inflammatory process- both the anti-oxidative stress and anti-inflammatory compounds help the cardiovascular system.
Where to purchase | health food stores, grocery stores, or farmers markets.
Tips and tricks | to release the clove of garlic from it’s skin, take the flat surface of a knife, lay flat on top, and give it a good whack (carefully!). Another trick is to place the cloves of garlic into a cup or jar and shake vigorously until the skin comes off. Once crushed or chopped, allow it to sit for at least 1 minute, it’s been shown to increase the health benefits.