The Heavenly Health Benefits of Garlic
The Heavenly Health Benefits of Garlic
Garlic. What does it bring to mind? Some immediately consider its unmistakable scent, whether infusing a room while cooking or the occasional unpleasant odor on your breath from eating an especially garlicky dish.
But garlic is a powerful herb with many potential health benefits, including helping to lower cancer risk and improve cardiovascular health.
Garlic may also affect longevity; combat sickness, including the common cold; improve athletic performance; and improve bone health. Garlic is also naturally antibacterial, and adding it to meals may play a role in preserving food and even preventing food poisoning.
Along with many benefits, it also comes in many forms. Check out all the ways you can add garlic to your diet and how they may benefit you!
Nutrition experts agree that raw garlic is the best way to enjoy its full health benefits. This may be as easy as mincing it and adding it into your salad dressing, salsa or pesto. Or maybe you’d rather mix it into butter or avocado and add it to toast or a sandwich. The ways to increase your raw garlic intake are plentiful!
Raw garlic not your thing? Don’t worry! Heating it to no more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit while cooking will keep its valuable nutrients intact. Anything higher will destroy them.
Your preparation method is also important. If you store your garlic in the refrigerator, put it at room temperature for at least 10 minutes to release the enzyme that has the most health-enhancing benefits.
When a recipe calls for fresh garlic, pick up a few heads and keep them in a cool, dry, ventilated place, where a whole head will stay fresh up to six months. Storing garlic in the refrigerator will give it a shorter shelf life. Once the peel is removed, garlic will not stay fresh long.
There may not be a more wonderful smell than the essence of garlic cooking in oil. Ask any chef or home cook. Garlic oil is something you can make at home with fresh garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Just peel a few cloves of garlic, mince, and soak in a small dish of olive oil. The longer the garlic steeps, the more flavorful. Try brushing it on a sliced baguette and making garlic bread. The health benefits abound, and garlic oil may also help clear up acne as well as improve your skin and hair.
If you don’t have fresh garlic on hand, dried garlic powder will work in a pinch. The key is that you use smaller quantities because it is more concentrated. You may keep garlic powder on hand as part of your heart-healthy pantry, as it may be used as a highly flavorful salt substitute and still contains essential vitamins including iron, copper, zinc, potassium and more.
The salted version contains a certain amount of table salt combined with dried garlic powder. That means if you’re using garlic salt to enhance the flavor of a meal, you’ll want to use it sparingly; however, you will still receive the health benefits you receive from garlic powder, especially if the ratio of garlic powder to salt is high.
Garlic is sold as a supplement in pill or capsule form. Research shows that taking garlic supplements on a daily basis may reduce cholesterol by lowering overall LDL count, which in turn may lower the risk of heart disease. There is also evidence that garlic may lower blood pressure, and the antioxidants in garlic may prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Garlic in tea may not sound very appetizing; however, soaking garlic in water and taming the flavor with a little honey is a great way to sip into garlic’s many health benefits.
No matter how you slice it, mince it, sprinkle it, drink it or take it as a supplement, garlic may be a healthy habit you can easily incorporate into your diet. Check out some of our favorite recipes featuring this amazing herb:
Pasta with cauliflower walnut “meat” sauce
Black bean and rice enchiladas