Garlic is a versatile spice used to add flavor and a boost of antioxidants.
Garlic is an 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 potent 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 and bitter with a bit of “heat” to it, especially when raw.
Health Benefits of Garlic:
Garlic is known for its antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral benefits. It may even help kill the overgrowth of H. pylori (when left untreated causes stomach ulcers and other digestive issues). It also has the ability to fight yeast and candida albicans. Garlic can actually help increase iron absorption (which is especially great for vegetarians/vegans) when eaten alongside iron-rich foods. Garlic also contains diallyl sulfides which have been shown to help increase ferroportin, a protein involved in iron stores. Anti-inflammatory compounds in garlic (1,2-DT and thiacremonone) inhibit the “messenger” molecules in the inflammatory process.
The sulfur-containing compounds in garlic (some include allin, allicin, and allixin), have been shown to have anti-cancer benefits and may also help our cardiovascular systems by expanding our blood vessels. Garlic has also been shown to help decrease overall cholesterol and triglycerides by protecting the body from oxidative damage and blood vessel damage.
How To Use:
Garlic is great in almost every savory dish. It can be roasted with vegetables and proteins; sautéed in soups and stews or mixed into salad dressings, sauces and stir-fry dishes. Enjoy garlic by roasting whole cloves alongside vegetables in the oven; the garlic becomes tender and almost sweet!
In order to release the clove of garlic from its skin, take the flat surface of a knife, lay flat on top of the clove, and carefully give it a good press. 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!