HERBS AND SPICES FOR HEALTHY EATING - Garlic
Have you ever walked into a house where cooking was occurring and it smelled SO good? People often make that remark when they enter my home during my cooking process. It’s typically garlic and onions. Why do they smell (and taste) so great?
It’s because as members of the Allium family, they release sulfuric compounds. In garlic, the one most famous one is allicin, the one responsible for the short-term smell and taste when garlic is first cut or crushed. The longer lasting sulfuric compounds, that may play a role in garlic’s health benefits, are diallyl disulfide and s-allyl cysteine. However, garlic has other nutritional value, as well.
Besides sulfuric compounds, garlic is very nutritious and low in calories. One ounce (28 gm) contains 42 calories, 1.8 gm protein, 9 gm carbs, .6 gm fiber, from 6-23% of the RDA of Manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Selenium. It also contains decent amounts of calcium, copper, phosphorous, iron, and Vitamin B1, and some trace amounts of other minerals. In fact, garlic contains a little bit of almost everything we need!
In addition, garlic is widespread in 3 ways: The first has to do with growth and the world; it grows in many places throughout the world and its use was well-documented in many major civilizations. The second is that it’s strong smell and delicious taste enhances many recipes of many varieties. The third has to do with our bodies; when we eat it, after going through the digestive tract, it travels throughout our bodies.
Garlic exhibits potent biological effects throughout our bodies. In fact, Hippocrates, known as the father of modern medicine, used to prescribe it for many ailments. He is known for the saying “Let Food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Today, modern science is finding that Hippocrates knew what he was doing and talking about; many of the uses for which garlic may be helpful have been proven and research continues. Let’s look at a few of those.
1) Garlic may improve the immune system, especially in fighting colds and flu.
2) Garlic may reduce blood pressure
3) Garlic may lower LDL cholesterol levels
4) Garlic contains antioxidants, which may protect against oxidative damage, which contributes to Alzheimer’s Disease
5) High doses may detoxify heavy metals from the body and protect the organs from heavy metal damage
6) Garlic may have beneficial effects on bone health
The bottom line is that garlic can be helpful in fighting chronic disease due to its anti-inflammatory, any-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-oxidant properties. The research done on these health benefits is with supplements. At Ford’s, we carry Metagenics Garlic caplets. The nice thing about these? No garlic breath! Side benefit – they may help keep mosquitoes off of you!
So what does this mean for the relatively healthy person who would like to enjoy garlic’s benefits as a spice? As with other spices, it contributes to an overall healthy diet and while it may not “fix” any problems, it certainly will enhance your efforts at maintaining healthiness. It can be used in so many ways and is easy to use. For example, crush some into some olive oil, add a pinch of sea salt and you have a dip. Add it to your salad dressing, use it in stir fry, on meats, on vegetables, and more. You probably don’t need me to tell you how to use garlic. I will say, though, that using it in conjunction with the other spices I’ve blogged about, make a very tasty and healthy combination. Try it with ginger, turmeric, seal salt and pepper, or simply purchase the turmeric blend we have in the store. Use it liberally and often for best results in smell, taste and health benefits. Just brush your teeth well, too!
Please note: some people can be allergic to garlic, and also a health professional should be consulted if you are on a blood thinner medication or have a bleeding disorder.
I used the following websites for information, which have more detail and reference the research: