Cloves of garlic are something that can be found in virtually every kitchen in the world. Whether used raw, roasted, fried or in the form of a paste, Garlic is an essential ingredient in many recipes of different cuisines all across the world. The flavorful nature and the pungent aroma is something that makes this herb one of the favorites of all.
However, did you know that apart from being a tasty additional to your food, the health benefits of garlic are so numerous in nature that sometimes it is considered a medicine rather than a herb. One of the biggest health benefits of garlic is its ability to improve your overall cardiovascular health, prevent strokes and reduce your blood pressure. Learn all about the health benefits of Garlic in the article below.
Garlic, like Onions is a part of the lily plant family. Similar to Onions, Garlic is one of the most indispensable ingredients in modern kitchen. Any cuisine of the world, ranging from Chinese, Italian, French, American or be it Indian cannot be complete without Garlic. The strong pungent aroma of Garlic is something that makes it very essential in your meat and poultry preparations. The strong aroma of Garlic is able to reduce the pungency that is found in raw meat or fish.
Garlic is mainly used as a dry bulb. The dry bulb contains many individual cloves having a very thin skin. Underneath the skin in the flesh of garlic which is quite fiery, crunchy and pungent. As you cook the garlic, the flavor becomes milder and the cloves turn milky. However, a lot of cuisines use burnt garlic, which is a delight for the palates.
Garlic is available perennially in local markets. However, during the spring season, you may find fresh or green garlic as well. The fresh of green garlic is milder in fragrance and pungency. Therefore, it makes them an ideal ingredient for salads and dressings. Please be sure that you do not get confused between Green Onions and Green Garlic and both look almost the same. There is a slight different in the thickness of the roots though, the roots of green garlic are thicker than that of the green onions. Please do not rely only on your eyes to buy them, a slight sniff would let you know which one is the green garlic.
Although Garlic is an herb it is primarily used as a flavoring for food. However, traditionally garlic has been used as a medicine to prevent or treat a wide range of diseases and conditions. Either, fresh clove or supplements/ powder made from the clove is used for medicine. In traditional medicine, the health benefits of garlic made them to be considered as a medicinal plant rather than a simple herb.
One of the most important and know health benefits of garlic is its benefits for many conditions related to the heart and blood system. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack and atherosclerosis. There have been many studies in modern medicine to verify the health benefits of garlic and some of these studies do verify these benefits. Garlic may be very useful in slowing the development of atherosclerosis. It is also known to be able to reduce blood pressure.
Other health benefits of garlic include treatment of fever, coughs, headache, stomach ache, sinus congestion, gout, rheumatism, hemorrhoids, asthma, bronchitis, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, high blood sugar, and snakebites. It is also used for fighting stress and fatigue, and maintaining healthy liver function.
To know about all the health benefits of Garlic, please refer to the tab Health Benefits above.
Some people apply garlic oil to their skin to treat fungal infections, warts, and corns. There is some evidence supporting the topical use of garlic for fungal infections like ringworm, jock itch, and athlete’s foot; but the effectiveness of garlic against warts and corns is still uncertain.
Learn more about garlic and health benefits of garlic!
Garlic bulbs are generally harvested when the lower leaves turn yellow in color and showing signs of dryness. Than, the bulbs are air dried in the shade for few weeks before they sold in the market.
Storage: Dry bulbs can be stored at room temperature placed in a cool dark environment away from humidity where they will stay in a good condition for several weeks. Garlic paste should be stored inside the refrigerator.
Cutting: There are many ways to peel Garlic. Get a garlic bulb and separate a clove, Take the garlic clove and remove the root ends with a knife, place the clove on a chopping board then place the side of a knife over the clove of garlic and apply pressure, by using this way the skin will easily come away from the garlic clove. Then remove all skin and waste.
How to Buy: Choose bulbs that are firm, which should have unbroken skin and there should be no sign of sprouting.
Special Steps: Fresh garlic tends to be sticky. A way to avoid this is to run water over your hands and the knife you use.
TIP: Avoid using an unstable cutting board, the main reason is the small size of garlic cloves, and you may cut your fingers while cutting and slicing if the board is unstable.
Strong flavored, garlic cloves contain many noteworthy phyto-nutrients, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that have proven many health benefits. Total measured antioxidant strength (ORAC value) is 5346 µmol TE/100 g.
Mineral Content: Garlic is an excellent source of minerals which are essential for optimum health. There bulbs are one of the richest sources of potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium.
Vitamin & Compounds: It contains many flavonoid anti-oxidants like carotene beta, zea-xanthin, Vitamin-C and Vitamin B6.
Water Content: Garlic is 63 to 64 percent water by weight.
Carbohydrate Content: Garlic provide 149 calories per 100 g
Garlic is used for many conditions related to the heart and blood system. These conditions include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, heart attack, and “hardening of the arteries”. Garlic may be effective in slowing the development of atherosclerosis and seems to be able to modestly reduce blood pressure.
Grow beautiful hair with garlic: Garlic could end your hair loss problems because of its high levels of allicin, a sulfur compound similar to that found in onions, which were found to effectively treat hair loss. Rub sliced cloves of garlic on your scalp, squeezing as you go for the most benefit. You can also infuse oil with garlic and massage it into your scalp.
Garlic clears acne: Garlic makes a great natural remedy to banish unsightly blemishes. Its antioxidants kill bacteria, so rub a sliced clove of garlic on the pimple for an effective topical treatment.
Garlic prevents and treats colds: Garlic is packed with antioxidants, your immune system could benefit if you give it a constant boost of powerful garlic in daily recipes. If a cold does sneak by, try sipping garlic tea: steep chopped or minced garlic in hot water for several minutes, then strain and drink.
Soothe psoriasis with garlic: Since garlic has proven anti-inflammatory properties, it could be useful in relieving uncomfortable psoriasis outbreaks. Try rubbing a little garlic oil on the affected area for smooth, rash-free skin.
Control your weight with garlic: Garlic could help you control your weight. There is a study which showed mice eating a garlic-rich diet reduced their weight and fat stores. Try to cook with garlic daily for tasty and waist-friendly meals.
Remove a splinter with garlic: Placing a slice of garlic over the sliver and covering it with a bandage or duct tape has been a folk cure for years. As natural remedies gain in popularity, current bloggers swear this one works.
Treat athlete’s foot with garlic: With its anti-fungal properties, garlic could be a good way to get rid of itchy athlete’s foot. Soak your feet in a bath of warm water and crushed garlic.
Keep away mosquitoes with garlic: One study in India found that people who rubbed a garlic on their arms and legs were not bothered by mosquitoes. Make a solution of garlic oil, petroleum jelly, and beeswax for a natural repellant or place cloves of garlic nearby.
Pregnancy: Gynaecologists have found that mothers-to-be who eat garlic boost the birth weight of small babies. They also discovered that it cut the risk of pre-eclampsia.
Garlic conquers cold sores: A popular cold sore home remedy involves holding a bit of crushed garlic directly on the cold sore; its natural anti-inflammatory properties could help reduce pain and swelling. Garlic supplements may also speed up the healing process.
Garlic works as a natural glue: Have you ever noticed how sticky your fingers get after chopping garlic? That natural adhesive quality is why some people swear by garlic to fix hairline cracks in glass. Crush some cloves and rub the juice on the crack, wiping away any excess.
Impotence: Garlic with its strong odour, may seem the least romantic of ingredients but one of its many reputed benefits includes an ability to increase the circulation and prevent hardening of the arteries, which can be a frequent cause of impotence in men.
Protect plants with garlic: Garden pests don’t like garlic, so make a natural pesticide using garlic, mineral oil, water, and liquid soap. Pour into a spray bottle and mist your plants to keep away destructive critters.
Colon cancer, Rectal Cancer and Stomach Cancer: Eating garlic can reduce the risk of developing colon, rectal and stomach cancer. Taking high doses of aged garlic extract daily for 12 months reduces the risk of developing new tumors. However, other garlic supplements do not seem to offer the same benefit.
High blood pressure: Some research shows that garlic can reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure by as much as 7% or 8%. It also seems to lower blood pressure in people with normal blood pressure.
Tick bites: People who consume high amounts of garlic over about a 5-month period seem to have a reduced the number of tick bites.
Ringworm and Jock itch: Applying a gel containing 0.6% ajoene, a chemical in garlic, seems to be as effective as antifungal medication for treating ringworm and for treating jock itch.
Improves Cholesterol Levels: Garlic can lower Total and LDL cholesterol. For those with high cholesterol, garlic supplementation appears to reduce total and/or LDL cholesterol by about 10-15% (10, 11, 12).
Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia: Oxidative damage from free radicals contributes to the ageing process. Garlic contains antioxidants that support the body’s protective mechanisms against oxidative damage.
Improve Bone Health: Recent studies have shown that garlic can minimise bone loss by increasing estrogen in females. Garlic may have beneficial effects on bone health in women.
Helps beat iron deficiency and anaemia: Diallyl sulphides present in garlic increase the production of ferroportin (a protein that helps in the absorption and release of iron) and improves iron metabolism — all of which helps prevent iron deficiency and associated diseases like anaemia.
Diabetic: Garlic increases insulin release and regulates blood sugar levels in your body, especially if you are a diabetic.
Heart Health: It also helps protect the heart from the damaging effects of free oxygen radicals.
The sulphur-containing compounds of garlic also prevent our blood vessels from becoming blocked and slow the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Treat skin infections: Since it has both antibacterial and antiviral properties, garlic is great when it comes to treating skin infections.
Digestive System: Raw garlic is very strong, so eating too much raw garlic could produce irritation of or even damage to the digestive tract.
Allergy: There are a few people who are allergic to garlic. Symptoms of this allergy include skin rash, temperature and headaches.
Surgery: Garlic could potentially disrupt anti-coagulants. Garlic might prolong bleeding. Stop taking garlic at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Bleeding disorder: Fresh garlic might increase bleeding.
Stomach problems: Garlic can irritate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Low blood pressure: Garlic can lower blood pressure. In theory, taking garlic might make blood pressure become too low in people with low blood pressure.
Raw Garlic: When taken by mouth, garlic can cause bad breath, a burning sensation in the mouth or stomach, heartburn, gas, nausea, vomiting, body odor, and diarrhea
Here are some simple and delicious Garlic recipes.
1) Garlic Bread: The best garlic bread that you may have tasted, adjust the ingredients based on on your taste buds.
2) Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: The sweetness of roasted garlic added with the flavor of mashed potatoes.
3) Italian Chicken with Garlic and Lemon: Make this dish with any chicken part and still would turn our delicious.
4) Lemon Garlic Tilapia: Whether baked or grilled, a delicious recipe which take no time at all to prepare.