There's one spice out there that you need more than any other, sometimes even more than salt. That's garlic. Garlic has a way of making dishes pop and adds depth and savoriness that you can't replicate with anything else.
If you found garlic lackluster before, you might not be using the right type of garlic or enough of it.
But, if you're among the small percentage of people that might be allergic to garlic, keep staying away from it. There's no taste in the world worth risking an allergic reaction.
So, if you're okay eating garlic, let's learn a little bit more about the superfood and how to add it to your meals to take it to the next level. We use it in this steak rub recipe.
Why Garlic Is Your Heart's Best Friend
Garlic does several things in the body, helping to strengthen your immune system, helping your eyes, and fighting parasites and bacteria that threaten to overtake you. Regular consumption can help you live longer and may help prevent Alzheimer's and dementia.
But, where garlic really shines is in your heart.
The major component most people know about is allicin. This tiny molecule is only present in garlic shortly after it's been crushed or cut, although placing a whole clove in oil preserves some of it. Other active compounds in garlic include diallyl disulfide and s-allyl cysteine.
Some of the top studies on garlic include helping reduce blood pressure. Some extracts of garlic can be as effective as some medications. One study only took about four cloves of garlic per day to reduce blood pressure naturally. So, you don't need mega doses.
It works very similarly for cholesterol levels. Garlic has a noticeable effect on LDL cholesterol, helping to reduce LDL levels while having no noticeable impact on HDL levels. Given allicin is an anti-inflammatory component, subtle inflammation throughout the body gets taken care of, reducing the LDL levels.
It has a wonderful effect on helping strength and endurance, particularly athletic performance related to peak heart rate. It's thought garlic may reduce fatigue in the heart muscle.
What Garlic Does To Your Food
A common joke in the culinary world is one clove of garlic is never enough, unless the recipe is How To Cook One Clove Of Garlic, and even then, use two.
The majority of recipes that call for garlic don't use enough.
The main thing you want is fresh garlic. Once it's been ground and dried, it loses the majority of its health properties. If it's diced up and put in water or oil, you're losing many of the health properties, as well.
It does take a long time to cut up garlic, especially smaller cloves. But there are a couple of tricks.
When you have a fresh clove, set it on your cutting board, turn your knife sideways, then use the flat of the blade and the heel of your hand to smash the garlic. Not only will it just fall away cleanly, but it also makes it easier to chop.
How To Add Garlic Without Overwhelming Your Neighbors
Some people avoid garlic because of the smell. Yes, you will get the garlic scent coming out of your pores and on your breath eating this much. In a culture where garlic goes in every dish, you don't notice it as much, but many people don't use garlic here.
If this is a big concern, we recommend seeking out deodorized garlic supplements. That way, you get the benefits without being overwhelmed.
Some people don't care about the smell of garlic. For the flavor profile and health benefits, consuming fresh garlic regularly is worth taking a step back away from other people (although, with masks and social distancing, that's really not much of an issue now, is it?)
There's a couple of things you can eat along with garlic that will reduce the scent from your breath and your body. Scientists aren't quite sure why any of these work. However, some suspect some of the phenol compounds in the foods neutralize the release of sulfur from a person's skin and breath. However, some high phenol foods, such as green tea, show no effect. Yet others with nearly no phenols, like lettuce, has a high impact.
Having a small salad with a high garlic meal can neutralize much of the odor coming from a person's breath. Salads are incredibly healthy, to begin with, and generally a staple of most meals where garlic is featured prominently in the culture, such as Italian meals.
Mint seems to neutralize the odors and bring a fresher scent. A strong mint tea made of fresh or whole dry leaves seem to work the best. Avoid the typical ground leaf tea bags from the grocery stores because they have a minimal effect. If you're going to choose mint, get it fresh or choose it from a high-quality herb shop.
This is the number one way to neutralize garlic breath. As an accidental discovery, scientists found certain participants showed signs of not having any garlic odor at all, where others did. In a review of their diet, the ones who had no odor ate an apple within 3 hours of consuming the high quantity of garlic.
Apples are incredibly healthy and can I help reduce acid reflux and digestive problems when consumed with a meal.
So, if you have a small salad with your meal, high amounts of garlic, and an apple afterward, you're getting tremendous health benefits in a healthy meal. Not bad for a couple of very common superfoods.