Although garlic is technically a vegetable, it isn’t typically served as a dish on its own, but rather used for flavor in a variety of dishes and sauces. You, and those around you, will most likely know if you are eating garlic because of its pungent taste and smell.
Aside from having its powerful aroma, garlic also touts many health benefits.
Garlic’s characteristic flavor AND health promoting effects both come from sulfur compounds that are released after crushing or chopping the cloves. Once garlic is consumed, the body also expels these compounds from the lungs or by sweating, and that’s why simply brushing your teeth doesn’t get rid of the garlic breath!
Regular intake of either cooked or raw garlic may help to prevent stomach and colorectal diseases. The sulfuric compounds in garlic can protect against inflammation of the intestinal lining, thereby supporting the immune system. Garlic also has liver protective abilities!
Garlic can help keep all kinds of bacteria and fungi at bay with its anti-parasitic and anti-candida (or yeast overgrowth) properties. Garlic has been used to protect against traveler’s diarrhea, and to reduce gas, relieve constipation, and treat infection. Because of its strong anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties, garlic has received the reputation for being a powerful immune booster that helps the body overcome common colds and illnesses. It may also help to reduce blood sugar!
I like to add fresh garlic – raw or cooked – to just about any savory food. A garlic press is a must-have gadget in my kitchen! I add minced raw garlic to dressings, hummus, salsa and pesto sauce. Roasting garlic first, then chopping and adding it to a savory dip is also delicious. I mince several garlic cloves and add to stir-fries, steamed veggies, and cooked grains. When sautéing garlic, keep in mind that it cooks and can burn quickly. It also likes to stick to the pan so stir it frequently and keep water nearby to add a tablespoon or two if the garlic starts to stick. The possibilities of cooking with garlic are endless!