Garlic, known as the “stinking rose” for its unmistakable aroma, is a great addition to your favorite recipes and may also be a versatile tool for maintaining health. Even if you’re familiar with garlic’s role in flavorful cuisine, there are a few things you may not have known about this bulbous plant:
1. It’s a defensive weapon: With its pungent taste, it can easily turn bland rice or pasta into a dynamic experience – while at the same time helping you keep icky germs and other invaders at bay through its antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties. For topical anti fungal applications, try soaking a few cloves in 2 cups of olive oil for a week – strain and toss the garlic pieces; keep the oil.*
2. It can help a healthy heart: While garlic won’t do wonders with your breath, it may help your cardiovascular system by supporting platelet function, healthy cholesterol levels already within normal range. Garlic may also support healthy blood pressure already within normal limits when combined with healthy diet and regular exercise.* Deodorized garlic supplements are popular for this purpose.
3. It has a special compound: The reason raw garlic is great for sneezes and sniffles? One word: allicin. This active compound found in garlic is activated when the skin is pierced or cut – so be sure to grate some into your favorite soup or atop a piece of toast.
4. Certain people shouldn’t eat it: Vampires aside, there are some people who should refrain from ingesting garlic, especially in its raw form. Those with gastritis (inflammation of stomach lining) and ulcers should avoid it, as well as women experiencing menopause, as it could exacerbate hot flashes and night sweats.
Easy oven-roasted garlic
There are plenty of ways to use cooked garlic. One of my favorites is to wrap a whole bulb of garlic in tin foil, drizzle olive oil (about one teaspoon) on top, then seal the foil. Place this little package on a cookie sheet in a preheated 350 degree oven, and bake for 30 minutes. When the bulb is cool enough, squeeze the garlic out of the cloves, and spread it on steamed veggies, bread, or pasta. Garlic in this form should taste nutty, and much less pungent than raw garlic.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.