The sharpness of raw garlic, the savoriness of roasted garlic… just give us all the garlic! Garlic is the pungent bulb that packs a major punch of flavor, but did you know it’s also incredibly good for you, too? There’s a reason the Italians call garlic “Italian gold.”
Let’s check out why garlic is the superfood you might have forgotten.
Garlic: Nutritious – and Can Fight Vampires
Let’s dig into the numbers. One clove of raw garlic – just 3 grams – contains only 4.5 calories, 0.2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of carbs. Garlic also contains vitamins B6 and C, as well as manganese, a mineral required for the normal functioning of your brain and nervous system. Not to mention, garlic also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients needed by the body to maintain a healthy diet.
From being a supposed aphrodisiac and its use as an effective vampire repellent, there isn’t much that garlic hasn’t been used for throughout the ages.
It has been praised for centuries as both food and medicine. These days, garlic can be used to treat a variety of conditions, ranging from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer. But, the benefits of garlic reach far beyond these major health issues.
The Super Powers of this Superfood
Garlic didn’t become known as a superfood for anything. Turns out this small bulb packs some major superpowers, for both men and women. Garlic extract has been shown effective in minimizing bone loss and can also protect against an enlarged prostate. Across the board, garlic has a good deal of antioxidants, too. This help protects against free radical damage to the body’s cells, especially in the skin.
As we’ve mentioned, the active compounds in garlic can reduce blood pressure. In one study, 600–1,500 mg of aged garlic extract was just as effective as medication at reducing blood pressure.
As a supplement, garlic has been known to also boost the function of the immune system. In a large, 12-week study, researchers found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63 percent compared to a placebo. Additionally, the average length of cold symptoms was reduced by 70 percent.
Tummy troubles? Garlic is also prebiotic, meaning it can offer digestive benefits by acting as fuel for the probiotics found in other foods.
Try Cooking with Garlic Today
Since garlic is closely related to onions, shallots, and leeks, you can easily swap out some of your favorite savory flavors for that of garlic. In addition to the 10-20 cloves found in a single bulb, garlic can also be consumed as a powder or extract with similar health benefits.
For an easy way to reap the benefits of garlic, add a few cloves or teaspoons of powder to nearly any savory sauce. Alternatively, use it as a rub for chicken, meat, or seafood, or sprinkle it onto cooked greens and veggies. Its flavor boost makes it easier to cut down on unhealthy salts, while you receive all of garlic’s superfood abilities.