Garlic: The Magic Pill?
A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.
The Stinking Rose or Russian penicillin, as garlic is also called, is a member of the lily family. The bulb, which grows underground, is the most used part of the plant, but the leaves, called scapes, are also edible and give off a lighter flavour and scent. The bulb is made up of many cloves (usually around 8-10).
Under the Spotlight
Garlic (Alium sativum) is rich in nutrients and is best known for being:
- An excellent source of vitamin B6
- A very good source of selenium, manganese and vitamin C
- A good source of copper, iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus
It’s active ingredients, among more, include:
- Sulphur-containing compounds such as allicin (responsible for the odour and most health benefits), diallyl disulphide and diallyl trisulphide
- Trace minerals selenium, germanium
Benefits to Your Health
The benefits of garlic are great and it’s impossible to list everything here, but the key ones are:
- Protects against heart disease and atherosclerosis (furring up of the arteries)
- Lowers total cholesterol (but raises the ‘good’ HDL)
- Lowers blood pressure
- Fights infections as it’s a powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral (including fungus like candida, virusses such as herpes simplex and bacteria like salmonella and helicobacter pylori (h. pylori)
- May protect against colon, stomach and intestinal cancers and stop the growth of colon cancer cells once they develop
- When you develop a cold/flu/infection don’t go running for antibiotics, but rather include more garlic in your diet, especially raw
- Macerate (infuse) garlic in olive oil for a week and use it in dressings
- Add a clove of garlic every time you cook to reap its benefits. START SLOWLY…if you’ve never eaten it, it will seem strong at first so try 1/4 of a garlic clove, next time 1/2 and so on
- Roast a couple of bulbs of garlic in the oven and then squeeze the soft garlic into a few cups of cooked potatoes, add 1/2 cup of olive oil and mash togther for garlicky deliciousness
- Try growing garlic yourself in pots on the balcony or in your garden in a sunny spot
Have a look at last week’s Veggie of the Week.