Garlic – The Wonder Drug
I have yet to come across a country that doesn’t use garlic – the wonder drug to prepare food in some way. I know that I would struggle to cook without it, though there are communities in India that forbid the use of garlic or onions on religious grounds as it is considered an aphrodisiac and yet they manage to create very tasty vegetarian food!
It’s weird how garlic smells wonderful when you cook with it, and yet creates such an unpleasant odour when transmitted through the body as an after-effect.
I can’t say the odour, pleasant or otherwise has ever put me off cooking with garlic. You only need to look at any of my recipes to see that.
Garlic: More Than Just a French and Italian Herb
Although it is best known as a huge French and Italian herb, it’s equally as popular in Indian and Asian cuisine. Often paired with its food buddies ginger and chillies ‘the holy trinity’ as I call it. Garlic is a member of the same group of plants as onions and leeks – the allicin family.
Like onions, it becomes more pungent as you chop it and so the more finely it is chopped the more intense the flavour. However, its potency diminishes with cooking and takes on a sweeter, more aromatic fragrance in food.
Garlic works beautifully when paired with onions, ginger, basil, turmeric, greens, beans, spinach, chicken pork and seafood. In addition, it enhances the flavours of other ingredients such as tomato, chillies, onions and ginger.
I like cooking with garlic because it provides an instant lift to ingredients, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary with an easy dollop. Simple foods such as pasta and potatoes are elevated to deliciousness when garlic is added to the dish.
Garlic chives are another version of garlic that add both flavour and colour and when in season I have to say I use them as often as I can.
Medicinal Power of Garlic – The Wonder Drug
Garlic is a potent antioxidant that has been found to impede the growth of cancerous cells and is currently being studied by the National Cancer Institute. It is also considered to be effective in fighting stomach, skin and colon cancer, so watch this space.
Garlic directly attacks bacteria and viruses, whilst also stimulating the body’s natural defences against foreign invaders. For this reason, garlic is a wonderful natural anti-biotic, providing the benefit without the side effects.
The wonder bulb has great value as a long-term dietary supplement. Helping to maintain healthy circulation, balance blood sugar levels and reduce fat and lipid levels in the blood.
Studies have shown that garlic decreases total serum cholesterol levels while increasing serum HDL-cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol, also known as “good” cholesterol, is a protective factor against heart disease.
Garlic provides an excellent source of vitamin B6 and contains vitamin C, manganese and selenium. It is also a good source of other minerals including calcium, copper, phosphorous, iron, and potassium.
Possible known side effects of Garlic
In rare instances, there may be gastro-intestinal symptoms, in some, the use of garlic may change the flora of the intestine, creating allergic reactions.
Sources of clinical references: http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/131/3/1118S
If you would like to learn more about the nutritional value of food please contact us on 10923 778880 or view our classes such as the One Day Indian or Nutritional Cookery. Where you can learn all about the nutritional benefits of food.
Kumud Gandhi is a Nutritional Food Scientist bestselling Author, Broadcaster, and Keynote Speaker on the subject of nutritional health for productivity & performance in the workplace. In 2010 Kumud founded ‘The Cooking Academy’ a cookery school that focusses on cooking for nutritional health and wellbeing. Kumud regularly presents to international audiences on a variety of topics such as ‘Eating for Immunity and a Lifetime of Wellness’. She is an expert in the field of Wellness in the Workplace and works with organizations to create transformational change in employee health & well-being through nutrition and health coaching.