I don’t know about you… but many people love the taste of garlic.
They cook with it all the time… tomato sauce just isn’t tomato sauce without it… but even if you don’t enjoy this aromatic offender…it’s safe to call garlic a culinary delight.
But aside from making your food taste great and protecting you from monsters… I am sure you’ve heard that garlic is good for your health… there’s been plenty of hype about its benefits for years.
And for good reason…
For example, some studies show garlic can significantly lower cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL (good) cholesterol.
And yet… there are other studies that show that it can also reduce the build-up of dangerous plaque in your arteries.
But it’s not only good for the heart… because it can be very good for your immune system as well, as some research indicates that garlic is beneficial for preventing and fighting sore throats and coughs.
In fact, the use of garlic dates back decades… as the Cherokee Indians used it to help fight and break up congestion.
And here’s another interesting fact… the famous scientist Louis Pasteur found it to have antibacterial activity… and garlic was then used during World War II as an antiseptic.
But all health benefits aside, scientists never really pinpointed what exactly makes garlic so good for you… until more recently.
Researchers knew that the organic compound allicin… which gives garlic its flavor and aroma… acts as an antioxidant.
But they weren’t exactly sure how until recently… because in a 2009 study out of Queen’s University in Canada, researchers unlocked garlic’s secret.
Chemists discovered that it’s the process of decomposition of allicin when it interacts with sulfenic acid that holds the key.
It activates a compound that immediately goes to work to prevent free radicals from ravaging your body and making you feel unhelathy.
They said, “We’ve never seen a compound react this quickly as an antioxidant.”
So now we know how it works… but now the question is:
How much garlic do we need?
Most sources indicate that two medium sized cloves a day will do the trick. Some cultures eat a lot more… some as much as 12 cloves a day…and while it may sound like a bit much, it isn’t hard to do if you use it whenever you cook.
So don’t be shy with the garlic… here are some suggestions on how to get the most from this potent vegetable.
- Add it to some of your favorite foods. Flavor soups and stews with it… and don’t forget pasta sauce! You can also chop it finely and add it to almost any salad dressing, or roast it with meat or poultry.
Or… for another great way to add garlic to you diet… sautee it up with some olive oil and other veggies for a delicious addition to any rice or meat dish.
- Try snacking on garlicky foods like hummus or garlic and herb cheese or dip with veggies.
- Keep in mind that it’s better to crush or crack open the garlic clove and leave it at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes before using it.
This activates an enzyme reaction that boosts the healthy compounds in the garlic.Don’t microwave garlic because it kills the active ingredients in it.
- Raw garlic has a stronger flavor… and the more finely chopped it is, the more powerful that flavor becomes.So if you prefer a milder flavor, baking or cooking will do.Another trick you can use is to add the garlic whole when marinating or when cooking and then remove before serving.
- The essence of garlic lingering on your skin is probably not the most desirable fragrance.
To remove the odor of garlic from your hands, use salt and lemon juice and rub over your hands… then wash them with soap and water.It really works!
- No one likes garlic breath… and just having a touch of it can be quite embarrassing… but there are a few things you can do to neutralize the smell.
For example, in case you were ever wondering what that bowl of fennel seeds were for at your local Indian restaurant – eating them helps neutralize the garlic smell.You can also chew on a couple fresh mint leaves in order to alleviate the odor… your friends and loved ones will thank you for it!
- If you don’t have time for fresh garlic or don’t like the taste of it, you can always get it in supplement form… just be sure they have the active ingredient allicin in them.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 0.4 to 1.2 grams of dried powder, 2 to 5 milligrams oil, 300 to 1,000 milligrams of extract, or other formulations that are equal to 2 to 5 milligrams of allicin daily.And as with any supplement… always talk to your doctor first.
Try some tonight… just be sure to keep those mint leaves handy.
Best Life Herbals
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- “Cholesterol Management: Integrated and alternative medical approaches”. www.lef.org. 1/27/04
- Queen’s University. “Chemists Shed Light on Health Benefits of Garlic”. ScienceDaily. Retrieved 6/26/09, from,http://www.sciencedaily.com/release/2009/01/090130154901.htm
- Parker-Pope T. “Unlocking the benefits of Garlic. “ www.nytimes.com. 10/15/07
- “What are the health benefits of garlic?”. www.naturalhealthremedies.org. 5/12/07
- “Garlic”. www.foodreference.com. http://www.foodreference.com/html/art-garlic.html. 6/18/09
- MedlinePlus.com, viewed 6/287/09