If it tastes good spit it out? Think again! One nutrition factoid I love to share with my clients is that the compounds in food that gives it flavor are often powerful health promoting nutrients. A perfect example of this is pungent garlic!
Health Benefits of Garlic
Allicin is the main active compound in garlic. It’s also responsible for garlic’s strong flavor and scent. Allicin is not present in whole garlic cloves, but when you crush it, an enzyme is released that converts alliin into allicin. So be sure to crush your garlic and let it sit out about 5-10 minutes before using it. In lab studies, allicin has been shown to have antimicrobial activity, lower blood pressure, and protect against cancers of the digestive tract.
A clove a day keeps the cardiologist away? Trials have shown garlic supplements modestly lower total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol. It also “thins” the blood slightly by preventing blood platelets from sticking together, helping to prevent harmful plaques from forming. The benefits seem to be dose dependent however, so you might have to pick up a good strong mouthwash if you’re relying on garlic for heart health benefits.
Phytonutrient-rich garlic has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Many chronic diseases have been associated with inflammation including heart disease, diabetes, and dementia, making garlic a valuable addition to your diet for disease prevention.
Garlic gives your immune system a boost, so use plenty during cold and flu season! Combined with it’s antimicrobial activity, studies show garlic also boosts the number of virus fighting T-cells in the blood. Some people swear by drinking a tea of fresh garlic, lemon and honey to kick a cold!
Vampire Bite Prevention
How to Enjoy Garlic
Certainly, you could do as my hundred-year-old great uncle does and pop a couple raw cloves each morning – right along with a can of sardines! Sounds gross, but hey, he’s lived to a hundred. If you prefer to not have constant garlic breath, try cooking with garlic or using small amounts of raw garlic in dips and spreads to add flavor. Here’s seven tasty and healthy garlic recipes:
- Lemon Garlic Quinoa with Grilled Vegetables
- Caramelized Kabocha Squash Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing
- Creamy Vegan Garlic and Herb Pasta
- Garlic Herb Parmesan Fish Sticks with Greek Yogurt Tartar Sauce
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
- Vegan Garlic Herb White Pizza
- Garlicky Caramelized Onion Pasta
Give a few of these recipes a try and let us know what you think!
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