The health benefits of garlic, or Allium sativum in botanical and scientific terms, are extensive and it one of nature’s culinary and medicinal wonders. This root vegetable has palate-pleasing qualities similar to herbs that enhance the flavor of any dish. In addition, it has natural ingredients that provide a variety of health-related benefits and treatment applications. Like some root vegetables under the genus Allium, garlic has a bulbous layer of fleshy leaves with roots growing at the underside and a stem flowering at the opposite end. Other vegetables belonging to the same genus, like the onion, chive, and Chinese scallion, share similar characteristics, including a strong odor and flavor that intensifies when the clove is crushed or chopped.
Why is Garlic so Healthy?
The enzyme in garlic alliinase converts allicin into allicin, which is responsible for the aroma of fresh garlic this conversion takes place when a raw clove of garlic is crushed, chopped or pressed. You can encourage even more of the allicin to develop by waiting a few minutes before eating or cooking raw garlic after you have crushed or chopped it.
As if these health benefits weren’t enough, garlic has also been shown to be a powerful natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory agent. It can help your immune system fight off colds and infections and even reduce the inflammation in arthritis.
Did you know that garlic is also a good source of important nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, selenium and calcium?
How to Get More Garlic into your Diet
With all of the wonderful healing properties of garlic, you may wonder how you can get enough into your daily diet without needing breath mints all day. It actually doesn’t take much garlic to provide a health boost as experts recommend only one to two garlic cloves per day. It actually can be quite easy and tasty to add garlic to many of the foods you already enjoy.
Basil pesto made with garlic can be a great spread.
Minced garlic can be added to salad dressings, sauces and marinades.
Vegetables can be sauteed in olive oil with chopped garlic to add a wonderful flavour.
Roasted garlic is another way to add flavor, as well as take advantage of the health benefits of garlic. Try mixing roasted garlic with butter and using it as a spread.
For even more health benefits, add minced garlic to olive oil for a garlic flavored oil that is great on salads, vegetables or bread.
Use your imagination and sneak some garlic into your next meal. You will not only enjoy the delicious flavor, but some amazing health benefits of garlic as well.