- Food and Cooking»
- Cooking Ingredients»
- Vegetable Ingredients
Benefits of Garlic
History of garlic
This fragrant bulb was valued so highly in ancient Egypt, that not only was it used as a form of currency, but they recorded its qualities on the walls of the Great Pyramid at Giza. The laborers that built the pyramid were fed chickpeas, onions, and garlic to give them the strength to complete their awesome task.
A weapon against heart disease
Several of the separate qualities that make garlic so important to overall health combine to form one big heart disease-fighting package. Because it lowers bad cholesterol, increases good cholesterol, and helps prevent blood clots, you can battle atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke in one fell swoop.
There may be no other single food that lowers cholesterol as dramatically as this simple seasoning. In one study, test subjects ate one-half to one clove of garlic every day for eight to twenty four weeks. Their cholesterol levels dropped by as much as 9 percent.
Other studies have discovered a compound that thins your blood and helps prevent your platelets from clumping together. This means fewer blood clots that could lead to heart attacks and stroke.
And last, experiments show that eating garlic can lower high blood pressure. Just by adding garlic to your diet, you can reduce the risk of all forms of heart-related diseases.
Antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. These are the three big healing properties of garlic. For thousands of years, man has been using garlic in folk remedies to treat all kinds of ailments, everything from leprosy to deafness. But since scientists discovered chemical properties in garlic that fight bacterial, viral and fungal infections, they are approving many of these ancient cures.
They say that although garlic may not cure leprosy, it will attack strep throat, urinary tract infections, influenza, intestinal disorders, candidiasis, and various bacteria. It goes after H. pylori , the ulcer-causing bacteria and takes out staph and yeast infections. Eat it for diarrhea, bronchitis, asthma, and gallbladder disorders.
If you think that garlic is the super food of the future, you may be pleased to discover that scientists are beginning to think that too. They are conducting more research than ever before in order to learn all of garlic’s healing secrets.
Perhaps the most exciting area of garlic research is in cancer prevention. The USDA rated garlic as having the highest antioxidant level of all the common vegetables, which means it can really battle those cancer-causing free radicals.
How does it do this? Scientists know that garlic contains selenium, a trace mineral necessary to the antioxidant enzyme, glutathione peroxidase. They also know that selenium can do the same job as vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant. There may be other characteristics of garlic that give it that cancer-fighting one-two punch, but the bottom line is that studies have proven that a diet rich in garlic protects against a variety of cancers by boosting your immune system and reducing the growth of malignant cells.
Buying garlic can be quite complicated nowadays. There are so many varieties and sizes of garlic to choose from. You can select produce grown anywhere from California to Europe, with cloves ranging from bean-size to softball-size. There is the small, young variety called green garlic, which is quite mild in flavor, and the traditional American garlic which is white and very strong-tasting. With a flavor somewhere in between is the pinkish Mexican and Italian garlics. The largest is, of course, the elephant garlic, produced mainly in California. This type can grow to the size of a grapefruit. To find this mild garlic that is really a leek, however, you may have to visit a gourmet food store.
Choose garlic bulbs that are firm, fresh looking, not soft or moldy. The outer white husk should be dry and can peel off easily. If the garlic has sprouted or that breaks apart, it means the bulbs are not fresh. This type of garlic should be avoided. Do not use any cloves that have turned brown.
Garlic can be kept for as long as six months if you store it in a cool, dark place with good air circulation. However, the sooner you use it, the stronger the flavor will be.
To get the most health benefit and the best flavor, crush or chop the cloves, since this causes a chemical reaction that releases important enzymes and the distinctive garlic odor. If you want to get rid of garlic breath, suck on a lemon or chew a sprig of parsley.
Garlic is inexpensive, abundant, and healthy – so are you cooking with it tonight?