The Health Benefits of Garlic

Garlic is one of the favorite vegetables of various cultures and cultures (it’s more of a vegetable than a herb!) throughout the world; it is a versatile kitchen staple which has its place in many timeless recipes. In times gone by, garlic has been used to treat a variety of medical conditions and most notably by none other than Hippocrates, a Greek physician and the so-called ‘father’ of Western medicine. If it was good enough for him, there’s surely some truth to the claims of its health benefits, right?

#1: Garlic’s Medicinal Properties

Garlic contains Allicin, a chemical compound which has some medicinal properties. Being in the Allium (onion) family, it is closely related to them and grows in various parts of the world. Throughout ancient history, garlic was used less as a culinary ingredient and more as a medicinal staple and was documented as such by all the major historic civilizations, including the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans and Chinese.

When a garlic clove is chewed, chopped or crushed, Allicin – a sulfur compound – is formed and, as well as being behind the potent smell which we all recognize as garlic, it has great health benefits. Allicin has been found to reduce inflammation, have some antioxidant benefits and fight major health problems and diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

#2: Garlic Has Nutritional Value

Being very low in calories, Garlic also has high nutritional value. A mere one ounce serving of garlic contains selenium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. In fact, garlic pretty much contains just a little bit of everything that our bodies need.

Given that we rely on vitamin B6 for brain development and the synthesis of neurotransmitters and vitamin C to help protect cells, maintain our skin and promote the development of blood vessels, bone and cartilage, it is easy to see just how important it is to have a bit of garlic in our lives; great news for garlic bread lovers!

#3: Storing Garlic Properly

How to store garlic depends on whether you are storing garlic cloves or garlic bulbs. In either case, buying the freshest and most firm bulbs of garlic is a sure-fire way to make sure they last as long as possible. Garlic should also always be stored at room temperature, as this allows the flavors of the bulb to develop and mature.

If you are storing a bulb of garlic, you can go ahead and keep it in a small bowl or mesh basket. So long as air can get to the bulb, there is no issue here. Avoid storing them in plastic bags or containers as this can cause them to grow mold.

If you are storing garlic cloves which have been peeled or chopped, it is OK to put them in the fridge, but be sure to keep them in a sealed airtight container to prevent the pungent smell from taking over! They will lose flavor pretty quickly, though, so try to use them within a day.

So long as you store your garlic correctly, there is no reason why it cannot keep for a long time – a bulb of garlic can last several months if you store it in the right conditions.

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