Monday, September 20, 2010

Vegetable of the Week: Garlic


Sources: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov, http://healthmad.com

For years garlic has been the topic of much folklore. Garlic has been used for numerous things including embalming, warding off evil spirits, and curing everything from the common cold to tuberculosis and broken bones.

Even in modern times, garlic is still being promoted as a health food with medicinal properties. Garlic is very popular in the Middle East and Mediterranean countries, India and China. It is characterized by it’s strong flavor and smell, stemming from its sulfur compounds. It makes a great flavoring agent for a variety of dishes.
Availability, Selection, and Storage
Garlic is available year-round frozen or fresh. When buying fresh garlic, choose from plump, dry heads that feel firm. Avoid soft, mushy or shriveled cloves. Garlic should be stored in a cool, dark place (though not a refrigerator) and can be kept for several weeks.

Preparation
For a stronger flavor, used chopped, crushed, pressed or pureed garlic in dishes. The more finely garlic is chopped, the stronger its flavor will be. Cooking garlic decreases the strength of its flavor making it much milder. The longer it is cooked, the more mild it tastes.

To remove garlic odor from hands, use salt or lemon juice and than wash your hands with soap.

Garlic has so many benefits, it almost seems to be nature’s wonder drug. It works best, for health purposes, when served raw because cooking destroys many of the natural benefits.
- Heart disease: Garlic is a superb natural supplement to your diet for combating heart disease. Not only does garlic work to lower bad cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, but garlic also helps protect the aorta in the heart by slowing the aging process of the aorta. Basically, garlic has natural anti-clotting and blood thinning properties.
- Infections: Natural, raw garlic works as an antibiotic. It can even kill some harmful bacteria, including that from staph infections, that are resistant to modern medical antibiotics.
- Allergies: Take at least one garlic pill a day, or eat a tea spoon of garlic a day, to help ward off allergies, especially allergies caused by changes in weather. It’s the antiviral properties of garlic that help with this.
- Tooth aches: Sore tooth? Rub some garlic oil on it. Or place a crushed garlic clove on the tooth and around the gums. Give it a few minutes. The pain should begin to ease.
- Cold sores: Crush a clove of garlic into a glass of slightly warm water and drink it twice a day. The anti-viral and anti-bacterial benefits of garlic can help to lessen the effects of and help to defeat cold sores and other forms of herpes.
- Cancer: Studies have shown that regularly partaking of garlic helps to lessen carcinogenic compounds in the body, especially helping to prevent stomach, colon and esophagus cancer.
- Food poisoning: Garlic is loaded with an anti-bacterial chemical called allicin (which also causes garlic’s unique smell). Allicin is a great natural compound for fighting bacteria, which includes bad bacteria that can build up in the stomach due to food poisoning.
- Common cold: Garlic helps to kill viruses in your body, especially cold viruses and other harmful bacteria when the garlic is eaten raw.
- Impotence: Garlic helps with blood circulation, and it also stimulates the male body to create a nitric oxide synthase enzyme, an enzyme needed for males to reach an erection.
- Low-weight birth: Studies done in Great Britain have shown that garlic taken by pregnant women helps the unborn to gain weight.

So many reasons to season your meals with this natural wonder!

Health P.O. celebrate's World Heart Day on 26th September 2010. To join us, do follow Health P.O. all week with posts for a Healthy Heart!


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