There are more reasons than just the pleasant taste and aroma to make garlic a staple in your home!
Allicin is a compound formed when garlic is chopped, crushed, or chewed. It is responsible for the pleasing aroma as well as many of the health benefits of consuming garlic.
In fact, here are a few great reasons to celebrate eating garlic:
1. Garlic may protect against certain cancers, especially those of the gastrointestinal tract.
2. Garlic may improve blood vessel flexibility; this decreases the likelihood of damage and inflammation.
3. Garlic contains components which will help to support your body’s natural detoxification system.
4. Garlic may help to offset some of the damage caused by cigarette smoke.
5. A new area of research shows a new potential application in preventing the development of type 2 diabetes.
While many of these studies do focus on garlic supplementation, regularly including 1-2 garlic cloves per day in your cooking is a great way to obtain the benefits. While garlic is tasty in powdered, minced, paste, or flake form, you won’t get as many benefits as if you buy fresh garlic.
Ideally, pick a bulb that is hard and firm. Avoid using garlic that is soft, molding, or has a sprout as it won’t be flavorful or have as many health benefits.
The easiest way to peel garlic is to lay the clove flat side down on a smooth surface. Place the flat side of a knife over the garlic, press down and this will crush it. You can then easily peel the skin from it. If there is a green sprout, be sure to remove it because it’s hard for humans to digest.
Once you’ve got your garlic cloves ready the possibilities to incorporate it into your cooking are endless. Here are a few quick ideas to add more garlic to your diet:
- To replace powdered garlic in a recipe with fresh garlic, use the following conversion: ¼ tsp powdered garlic = 1 tsp fresh minced garlic.
- Try it in homemade dips and spreads.
- Mince it for homemade salad dressings.
- Add to marinades.
- Use at the beginning of any stovetop dish. For example, if sautéing chicken or veggies, sauté the chopped garlic for 30 seconds before adding the vegetables or continuing with the recipe.
- Incorporate chopped garlic into soups or Crock Pot meals.
- Stick whole cubes of garlic in cuts of meat while it cooks (bakes, roasts, or cooks in the Crock Pot).