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Garlic has health benefits in addition to adding flavor

Walters

Guest post by Samantha Walters, RDN, LDN, of Baltimore-based Nourish Family Nutrition 

Did you know that April is National Garlic Month? People all over are celebrating this super-food loaded with antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, which with just a hint can change the entirety of your dish.

Although this bulb leaves you with pungent breath, garlic is a staple in my diet and is what I would consider the “backbone” of a lot of my savory dishes.

Garlic Health Benefits:

  1. Overall Blood Health: Reduces blood pressure and reduces total and LDL cholesterol.
  2. Boosts Immune System: Studies have shown that people who consume a lot of garlic have reduced their risk of common illnesses such as the common cold and flu.
  3. Cancer Prevention: Contains a compound called allicin, known to slow or prevent the growth of tumors when introduced in the body.
  4. Brain Health: Contains antioxidants that can help prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia.

NOTE: The most beneficial way to enjoy garlic’s health benefits is to consume it raw, as high temperatures destroy allicin (its main compound that provides health benefits and unique odor). Therefore, try to always add your garlic raw or at the very end of your recipe!

Fresh Garlic vs. Garlic in a Jar

After researching and reading a lot of controversial information between the two, I decided to do a recipe taste test myself. Without a doubt, the chicken dish flavor made with the fresh minced garlic was much better and flavorful than the jarred. Along with taste, studies have shown that the allicin content of garlic may be reduced in jarred garlic vs fresh.

Tips for Preparing Garlic:

Garlic may seem tricky to peel and mince, but there are tricks and tools that can make this easier for you!

  • Once you separate the individual cloves from the main bulb, soak them in warm (not hot!) water. This helps loosen the skin to help you peel it off and prevents your hands from smelling. 
  • “Smash” your whole garlic bulb with the flat top of your knife, which will separate the individual cloves, and then “smash” again to release the skin to help you peel.
  • Have you ever tried a garlic press? You can find them at most stores, and mine was only $5! This is a quick and easy way to mince in a hurry!

With the warm weather approaching, try this yummy fresh garlic salsa to add to one of your main dishes, whether that be tacos, salads, or your meats, or just to have as an appetizer with baked tortilla chips!

Samantha Walters is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist. She works with multiple disease states, including but not limited to diabetes, renal disease, heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders (IBS, IBD, GERD, etc.), and obesity. Samantha specializes in working with oncology and gastrointestinal surgical patients, helping people optimize their nutrition while receiving cancer treatments and also while recovering from major surgeries. She also has experience working as a college sports nutrition dietitian to help enhance overall performance and recovery for athletes. Nourish has offices in North Baltimore and Lutherville. nourishfamily.com

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1 Comment on "Garlic has health benefits in addition to adding flavor"

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Jaime

Great article! I loooove garlic. Anyone interested in this stuff should definitely check out the book Everyday Roots. It teaches you how to replace all of the harmful chemical products in your life with organic ones. It’s completely changed my life and how I feel everyday 🙂

Heres a good article about it: http://reggiesreview.weebly.com/everyday-roots-review.html

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