Garlic is the cat’s meow of aromatic herbs. Garlic is a member of the lily (or Allium) family. It’s also related to the onion and the leek. On its own, it is known as “the stinking rose”, a reflection of its strong odor, but honoring its therapeutic benefits.
Nutritional Benefits of Garlic
Garlic’s powerbase comes from its sulfur compounds. These compounds are not only responsible for its pungent smell, but are the source for garlic’s myriad of health benefits.
Garlic is also a fantastic source of manganese (which feeds our mitochondria – the energy production factories of our bodies). Garlic also offers vitamin B6, vitamin C and selenium; all are working hard as antioxidants to provide health benefits.
Garlic Rocks for Heart Health
Garlic is a protector of our cardio system. It can lower cholesterol, but more importantly, garlic’s key nutrients protect our blood cell and blood vessels. This keeps our hearth healthy and the blood flowing. Garlic helps to reduce plaque formation and clogging.
Part of these benefits are attributable to garlic’s ability to lower blood pressure. Garlic is an important addition to our daily diet for keeping our heart and blood pressure in top working order.
It’s an Anti-Inflammatory
Garlic brings the pain when it comes to reducing inflammation. From our muscular, skeletal, and our respiratory system, garlic is an all around tonic. Garlic is thought to also combat obesity, which is believed to be in many ways just another form of inflammation. If you’re trying to reduce your weight, eat more raw garlic!
Garlic is an Antibacterial and Antiviral
Garlic’s super claim to fame is its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Garlic is proven to control infection from bacteria and viruses. It also controls infection from yeasts, fungus, and worms. Garlic is an overall cleanser of our body’s system and can assist us in maintaining optimum overall health.
Iron Metabolism Done Right
It’s also thought that garlic is key in helping our bodies properly metabolize iron. Iron is an important nutrient for our blood and cells. Garlic helps the transportation of a protein called ferroportin, which helps keep the iron moving through our bodies as it’s needed.
Raw vs. Cooked Garlic
It is generally recommended to include one clove of garlic in your diet at least once a day. To obtain the best that garlic has to offer, eat the clove raw.
Here’s some general tips for easy handling of your garlic:
- To use garlic, separate a clove from what’s called the “bulb”. To remove the skin easily, place the clove on a hard surface and then gently apply pressure with the palm of your hand at an angle. The skin will separate and you then can peel it away.
- To give the garlic’s enzymes a chance to activate, peel your clove at least 5 minutes before adding it to your juice. This method lets the garlic reach its peak proficiency before combining it with other ingredients.
- If raw garlic simply doesn’t do it for you, consider adding it to just about any dish you ever cooking. Add it a few minutes before the end of cooking time will help it retain its verve. Cooking garlic too long reduces its health-promoting ability and brings forth a bitter flavor.
- 2 tomatoes - Click here to learn more about how tomatoes keep you in tip-top shape
- 2 apples - Click here to find out more about apples
- 1 clove of garlic (prepare your clove 5 minutes before juicing)
- 1 sprig of parsley
Juice them, mix them, and enjoy them!
A little more about garlic
Garlic is native to central Asia. It has been grown for over 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world.
But it was ancient Egyptians (Khemet) that first began to cultivate garlic. They held it as sacred and the garlic clove was often placed in the tombs of Pharoahs.
Also in Egypt, garlic was held as the pinnacle of the food pyramid (quite literally in fact, as it was given to the slaves that built the Pyramids to enhance their strength and endurance!)
In ancient Greece and Rome, athletes partook of garlic prior to competition and soldiers consumed it before battle. Garlic’s ‘power’ was held in high esteem.
Garlic traveled the world with migrating tribes and adventurers. It was found in India and China by the 6th century BC.
In garlic’s long and distinguished history, it’s been used as a sacrament, for culinary endeavors, and for medicinal purposes. With current scientific research touting garlic’s healthful power, this little bulb continues to be as popular as ever.
Selection and storage of garlic
Choose fresh garlic whenever possible for your cooking or medicinal needs. Garlic’s greatness is found in its freshness.
Choose cloves that are plump and have an unbroken skin. Garlic should feel firm and not squishy. Steer clear of garlic that has begun to sprout or looks shriveled. The older the garlic, the less flavor and nutritional benefits it will provide. The size of the garlic bulb or cloves give little indication as to the quality.
Store garlic in a bowl or covered container in a cool and dark place. Avoid placing garlic in direct sun or near a heat source. Freezing or refrigerating garlic reduces both its flavor and nutritional value.
Fresh garlic of superior quality will keep for up to a month if stored well. However, once you break a garlic bulb open, the shelf life reduces dramatically to just a few days.