Native to Central Asia, garlic is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. Its usage predates written history.
Hippocrates and Aristotle cited numerous therapeutic uses for garlic. It has been used throughout the world to treat atherosclerosis, coughs, dandruff, diarrhea, hypertension, hysteria, toothache and many other conditions.
Nutritional Highlights & Health Benefits:
Garlic is an excellent source of Vitamin B6 and is a very good source of manganese, selenium and Vitamin C. In addition garlic is a good source of other minerals, including phosphorous, calcium, potassium, iron and copper.
Many of the therapeutic effects of garlic are thought to be due to its volatile factors. Chopping or crushing garlic stimulates the enzymatic process that is responsible for many of garlic’s health benefits.
Garlic appears to provide protection against atherosclerosis and heart disease. It decreases total cholesterol levels while increases HDL levels, while reducing blood pressure.
Garlic also has a long history of use as an infection fighter. These antimicrobial effects are effective against common infections such as colds, flu, stomach viruses and also against powerful pathogenic microbes including tuberculosis and botulism.
Garlic also appears to offer protection against some cancer. Substances found in garlic have been shown not only to protect colon cells from the toxic effects of cancer-causing chemicals but also to stop the growth of cancel cells once they develop.
How to select & store:
For best flavor and maximum health benefits, buy fresh garlic. Garlic in power or paste is convenient but it is simply not as good as fresh garlic.
Fresh garlic should be stored at room temperature in an uncovered container in a cool, dark place away from exposure to heat and sunlight.
Quick serving ideas:
- Garlic is a valuable addition to many foods, sauces and soups to improve the nutritional benefits as well as the flavor.
- Macerate garlic in olive oil for a week and use this flavored oil in dressings and marinades.
- Stuff pitted olives with pieces of garlic and server as hors-d’oeuvres or mix into salads.
For the sake of simplicity, this article is kept short. If you need more details, leave a comment.
Reference: The encyclopedia of healing foods, Dr Michael Murray and Dr Joseph Pizzorno with Lara Pizzorno.