What is Garlic?
Garlic is the edible bulb from a plant in the lily family. It has been used as both amedicine and a spice for thousands of years. Garlic’s most common folk or traditional uses as a dietary supplement are for high cholesterol, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Medicinal Use of Garlic
Medicinal garlic comes in many forms, but raw garlic is most potent medicinally, and deodorized forms may have reduced medicinal action. According to a researcher at the National Cancer Insti- tute, garlic should be chopped and allowed to sit for 10-15 minutes before cooking to stabilize benefi- cial compounds and maximize garlic’s anti-cancer properties.
Garlic’s uses in folk medicine include treatments for bronchitis and respiratory problems, gastrointesti- nal problems, flatulence, leprosy, menstrual cramps, high blood pressure, diabetes and externally for warts, corns, arthritis, muscle pain, neuralgia and sciatica. It’s no wonder that garlic acquired the name poor man’s treacle, or cure-all. Recently, science has begun to confirm some of garlic’s long-standing medicinal uses. Garlic has been shown to lower blood cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar in studies and clinical trials and has also demonstrated anti-cancer, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant effects.
Benefits of Garlic
- Preliminary research suggests that taking garlic may slow the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), a condition that can lead to heart disease or stroke.
- Evidence suggests that taking garlic may slightly lower blood pressure, particularly in people with high blood pressure.
- Some studies suggest consuming garlic as a regular part of the diet may lower the risk of certain cancers.
Side Effects and Cautions of Eating Garlic
Garlic may have some side effects due to disease, sensitiveness, in combination with medications etc. and if eating excessive amounts of it. Some are harmless and some more significant;
- Breath and body odor, heartburn, upset stomach, and allergic reactions (these side effects are more common with raw garlic).
- Garlic can thin the blood (reduce the ability of blood to clot) in a manner similar to aspirin. This effect may be a problem during or after surgery. Use garlic with caution if you are planning to have surgery or dental work, or if you have a bleeding disorder.
- Garlic can irritate the digestive tracts of very young children, and some sources don’t recommend garlic for breastfeeding mothers. In addition, some individuals are allergic to garlic.
- Garlic has been found to interfere with the effectiveness of saquinavir, a drug used to treat HIV infection. Its effect on other drugs has not been well studied.
Recipies with Garlic
Penne Pasta Salad with Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
A high-quality, aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is essential to this recipe’s success: the bold, salty flavor curbs the need for extra fat or seasoning. The salad also makes a quick weeknight meal when served hot. Serves 6
- 6 oz. penne rigate pasta
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 9 cloves garlic, minced (3 Tbs.)
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- ½ red jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped (1 Tbs.)
- 10 fresh red or yellow grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 oz. shaved or crumbled Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water 8 minutes. Add broccoli, and cook 1 minute more. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.
2. Return pot to stove, and heat oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic in oil 1 minute. Add jalapeño, and cook 30 seconds. Stir in pasta mixture, tomatoes, and reserved cooking water. Transfer to large serving bowl, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cool to room temperature, and top with cheese.
Garlic & Kale Soup
This brothy soup provides heart-healthful nutrition on many levels: kaleand garlic are good for the cardiovascular system; wheat berries are high in fiber; and shiitake mushrooms contain eritadenine, an amino acid that speeds up processing of cholesterol in the liver.
- ½ cup wheat berries
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 3.5 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced (1 cup)
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup brown rice vinegar
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 bunch kale (10 oz.), stemmed and coarsely chopped
1. Soak wheat berries in large bowl of cold water overnight.
2. Heat oil in 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, and season with salt, if desired. Sauté mushrooms 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Add garlic, and sauté 2 minutes more. Stir in vinegar; simmer until vinegar is almost evaporated, stirring to scrape up browned bits from pan.
3. Drain wheat berries, and add to mushroom mixture with vegetable broth and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes. Add kale, and cook 10 to 20 minutes more, or until kale is tender. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Nutritional Content in Garlic
|Nutrient||Value pr 100g|
|Vitamin C||31.2 mg|
|Vitamin B6||1.2 mg|
|Vitamin A||9 IU|
|Vitamin E||0.08 mg|
|Vitamin K||1.7 µg|
|Saturated fat||0.09 g|