Do you like garlic? Well here's some good news for you! Garlic, the Latin name for which is Allium Sativum, belongs to the onion family (Alliaceae) which also includes leeks, red/yellow/white onions, chives and shallots. It is known to have health-benefits and has been used throughout history for both culinary as well medicinal purposes.
How is Garlic Eaten?
Usually consumed is the garlic bulb (also known as a pod), the bulb being divided into sections called cloves, although many cuisines also use the flower (bulbis) and the stalk in their cooking. Garlic should be eaten raw as far as possible, or with minimum cooking. You can add it to salads, or swallow capsule-sized pieces of it first thing in the morning (especially useful in joint-pain and arthritis). But try to eat fresh and unprocessed foods with garlic- not much point to fill yourself with toxins and then to fight it with garlic!
What are its Health Benefits?
Garlic is especially helpful in lowering cholesterol and maintaining blood pressure. It is also known to strengthen your immune system. Also, garlic is very good for the heart. Rich in antioxidants, these wonder-cloves have a potent use in enhancing immune-cell activity.
Emerging research is now confirming garlic's benefits for humans, although it was already used as a medicine in a number of countries, and especially within alternate medicine systems in what is generally referred to as the third world. Garlic has anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and thus has been shown to help against cancer, diabetes, heart-disease, strokes and other immunity-related conditions such as allergies. It also helps kill and expel harmful parasites such as the pin-worm from the human body. It is known to reduce joint-pain, and can be a boon to arthritic patients.
What is most amazing is garlic's ability to reduce the bad-cholesterol in the body, and to regulate blood-pressure according to the body's need, by de-clogging the arteries of plaque. Garlic pods are packed with vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamins A, B, B2, B6, and C in addition to Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium, Manganese and other flavonoids. Garlic also contains Sulphur compounds like Allicin, which give it its distinct pungency and flavor, as also its wonder-drug properties. In addition, the rich quantities of Germanium in the garlic plant (pod, stalk and flower) make it a powerful anti-cancer agent, shown to retard tumor-growth in human subjects, and control the spread of cancer in mice.
Things to Keep in Mind About Garlic
In Eastern society, garlic is considered a warm-food and a strong stimulant, with people with excess heat in their body being advised against too much use of. Garlic combined with excess heat may lead bad-breath, hot-flushes, yellow-urine, constipation, rapid-pulse, irritability, red-eyes, and acne. Other foods to avoid if showing these tendencies are meat, spices, fried foods, coffee, alcohol, sweets, etc.
There you go, now you know how to eat garlic the right way. So include garlic in your daily diet and lead a healthy life, ahead.