Garlic: Uses Beyond Vampire Repellent

Garlic is good.  It’s tasty.  It’s healthy (more on that below).  It makes your breath stink.

garlic bulb

I took a cooking class 2 years ago hosted by The Cancer Project, which is a nonprofit organization that promotes cancer prevention and survival through a better understanding of cancer causes, particularly the link between nutrition and cancer.  In the class, the instructor introduced students to vegan cooking techniques and focused on nutrition and its link to disease. *

I’ve always loved garlic.  How its aroma  fills up the kitchen when it’s sautéed, and the exceptional flavor it brings to food.  Our cooking instructor in a few words said that garlic is great (duh), and alluded that it has some magic healing powers.  This sparked my curiosity, because I obsessively need to know exactly how everything works (yes, this trait gets me into trouble sometimes!), and the information that I got was just too vague!  I mean, magic powers???  Really?  So naturally, I started researching why garlic is so great for you and how it fights against cancer and other diseases.  Let me just tell you… I now put garlic in everything and if a recipe calls for garlic, I at least double the amount and keep a pack of gum on hand.  What I found was astounding, and I wanted to write an article that summarizes all the great health properties that are nicely packaged in the little garlic clove.

  • When garlic is chopped or pressed, its cell walls are broken down.  This allows the pungent organic compound called allicin to escape from the cells.  This chemical is what makes garlic smell and taste so good.  It also is the source for a whole bunch of health benefits because it has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.  Not surprisingly, as with any strongly tasting and smelling plant, allicin is garlic’s natural pest defense mechanism (except of course against us garlic-loving humans!).
  • Studies are ongoing, but here are some of the proposed benefits of this chemical:
    • Decreases blood pressure
    • Lowers cholesterol levels (currently in research)
    • Traps damaged radical cells
    • Can prevent stomach and colon cancers
    • Can fight and prevent the common cold
    • Regulates blood sugar levels
    • Anti-bacterial properties
    • Can boost testostorone levels
Now, here is the important part, so pay attention.  There is only one way to get the maximum benefit from garlic.  After cutting, mincing, or crushing garlic, let it sit for at least 10 minutes before cooking it.  This allows the garlic to release it’s healthy magical powers (aka allicin).  Cooking the garlic right away cooks the cells of the garlic and makes the allicin ineffective immediately.

 

So now, go forth and put garlic on everything!  And don’t forget to let it rest for 10-15 minutes after cutting it before cooking.

 

Add minced garlic to:
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Salad dressings
  • Pizza
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Butter (along with other herbs)
  • Sides of vegetables (green beans, peas, corn, etc.)
  • Sandwiches
Basically, if you would add onions to it (which, by chance, is in the same family as garlic), you could add garlic to it as well.

 

Good luck in your culinary adventures.  :o)

*  For more information about The Cancer Project, visit their website.  Subsequently, their diet and cooking class was held at The Gathering Place.  It is another nonprofit organization that is local to the Cleveland area that offers free resources to those who have been touched by cancer.  It is considered a “safe haven” healing center for cancer patients and their loved ones.  You can literally walk in and join a cancer support group, sign up for a yoga class, or visit their library without ever being asked for a payment.  However, in order to keep their services free of charge to those who rely on it, the organization runs solely on donations.For more info visit the following:The Cancer Project

The Gathering Place

Join my team for this year’s Race for the Place (or make a donation for the team!)

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