Garlic is for Lovers—of Life
Some people shy away from eating fresh garlic for fear that it will leave their breath smelling—well, less than appealing. But there’s no reason that you can’t reap the health benefits of garlic without becoming a social outcast. And there are plenty of reasons to embrace garlic and add it to your list of top superfoods for health. That’s because there are ingredients in garlic that can provide a host of important benefits.
Garlic compounds have been shown to help keep the blood thin (meaning it’s less likely to form clots that can cause stroke or heart attack). Other compounds help boost immune system function, and may even help fight off dangerous bacteria that could cause infection. Still other compounds are credited with helping keep blood pressure low and blood lipids within normal limits. And all of that adds up to potent protection against heart disease.
Savvy cooks know that finely chopping garlic releases and activates those odor-producing compounds. That’s why they often recommend slicing garlic, rather than finely chopping it. And they never, ever allow it to overheat. It’s a lot easier than you might think to overcook garlic and turn it from a lovely, fragrant ingredient into a bitter one. Of course, like onions, garlic needs a little cooking to take the edge off it’s pungent taste.
But the similarity between these two foods ends there. Garlic is more delicate than onion; it doesn’t need as much heat as an onion to become soft and appealing. And it definitely shouldn’t be cooked until golden brown. By then it will have become bitter and offensive. So take it easy when cooking garlic; stick to medium heat for just a minute or two, and try slicing instead of chopping to release its perfume and health benefits. I think you’ll find that these tips will keep your breath fresh and your family asking for seconds.
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Khatua TN, Adela R, Banerjee SK. Garlic and cardioprotection: insights into the molecular mechanisms. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2013 Jun;91(6):448-58. doi: 10.1139/cjpp-2012-0315. Epub 2013 Mar 6