Garlic is a common vegetable that can be found in many supermarkets and can easily be incorporated into any dish. It’s full of nutrients, low in calories and compounds within garlic are responsible for the many health-supporting and disease-preventing benefits it provides.
What Is Garlic?
Garlic is a vegetable (part of the onion family) both intensely aromatic and flavourful. It can pack a punch when used in cooking culinary dishes and can even be consumed raw if you like that sort of powerful, pungent flavour. The high amounts of sulphurous compounds within garlic are thought to be responsible for its scent, taste and its numerous health benefits.
Regular consumption of garlic has shown to come with a whole host of health benefits, some of which have shown to exhibit anti-cancer properties. Whilst the National Cancer Institute does not recommend any dietary supplement for cancer prevention, they do recognise garlic as one of several vegetables which could help reduce the chances of getting cancer through its anti-cancer properties.
6 Reasons To Cook With Garlic
#1 – Contains Medicinal Properties
The compounds within garlic contain potent medicinal properties. Garlic has been widely used throughout history for its health benefits which are thought to come from sulphurous compounds which are formed when garlic is crushed or chopped. Another compound which exhibits medicinal properties is allicin. When these compounds enter the body through the digestive tract, they travel throughout the body where they exert their potent biological effects.
#2 – Could Reduce Blood Pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension is well known to be one of the biggest risk factors for heart attacks. Garlic supplementation has been shown to prevent oxidative DNA damage in hypertension and to lower blood pressure in those with uncontrolled hypertension.
Studies out there show that garlic supplementation could be as effective as taking some medication to manage hypertension. One study found that using 600 – 1,500 mg aged garlic extract was as effective as using the drug Atenolol for reducing blood pressure over a 24 week period.
You could choose between taking garlic supplements or simply incorporating garlic into your cooking and meals. To consume the same amount of garlic as supplemental doses, you’d need to consume about 4 garlic cloves per day.
#3 – Easy To Include In Your Diet
Garlic is easy to include in your diet. Before frying anything on the pan you can crush and mince some garlic and chuck it in the pan along with some cooking oil. It can be crushed, chopped and incorporated into stews, curries, soups and more. You can even use it as part of a marinade or eat it raw once you’ve peeled off the skin.
#4 – Nutrient Dense
One garlic clove (3g) contains approximately:
- 4.5 calories
- 1 g carbohydrate
- 0.2 g protein
- 0.1 g fibre
- 0.1 mg manganese (3 percent DV)
- 0.9 mg vitamin C (2 percent DV)
- 5.4 mg calcium (1 percent DV)
- 0.4 mcg selenium
- Lots of trace minerals
It also contains the sulphur-containing compounds allicin and alliin which have both been well researched to help in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease.
#5 – Reduces Risk Of Illness
The compound allicin found in garlic has been shown to be bactericidal meaning that it kills microorganisms within the body such as bacteria which may cause colds. One study carried out between November and February had people take a garlic supplement for 12 weeks and another group take a placebo. They found that those who took the garlic supplement were less likely to get a cold and those who did recovered faster than those in the placebo group.
#6 – Inexpensive And Widely Available
Garlic can be found in all big supermarkets worldwide making it easy to buy and use in cooking. It’s also quite cheap, especially if you buy them in packs of three or four garlic cloves instead of one at a time.
Final Notes On Garlic
Garlic is a great vegetable to incorporate into your diet and could certainly help improve your health.
If there are any negatives to garlic, it would be that consuming it can give you garlic breath which is generally unpleasant so make sure to freshen up after eating garlic, especially if it’s raw! …unless you need to fight off some vampires of course!
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