There have been many claims to fame for the humble garlic
pod; an ancient herb that has featured prominently in
various cooking styles around the world. Garlic is an herb
that is related to the onion, chive and leek family of bulbs.
Garlic grows underground with a leafy overgrowth found
above the earth’s surface. Making use of garlic in cooking
is a great way to ensure good health.
There are numerous varieties of garlic available the world
over, but the two common varieties of garlic are the hard
and soft neck garlic; t. Garlic has two primary ingredients
that contribute to good health – allicin and diallyl
sulphide. While there are many health benefits to consuming
garlic as part of one’s regular diet, there are many
unproven claims as well.
Modern science has helped highlight the powerful antibiotic
properties of garlic. Bacteria found in the human body
appear unable to combat the effectiveness of garlic and its
antibiotic properties. In other words bacteria are unable
to develop resistance to garlic.
Aged garlic has been the subject of study for its
antioxidant properties. Garlic helps the body fight against
the damage caused by free radicals. A large number of people
prefer to take garlic supplements to avoid the harsh taste
and bad breath of garlic. However, adding garlic to cooking
is one of the best ways to consume garlic in its natural
Adding garlic to food may help in managing cholesterol
levels and blood pressure. It can also help to lower risk
of blood clots and maintain a healthy heart. There have been
studies conducted in America and Australia to show that
consuming garlic in food helps to prevent blood clots that
lead to heart attack and stroke. The allicin in garlic is
the agent that lowers cholesterol levels and blood
During World War I the antibacterial and antiparasitic
properties of garlic were revealed to the full. Infections
and amoebic dysentery that plagued soldiers were
successfully treated with garlic thanks to the allicin
present. When garlic is chopped, crushed or chewed, the
allicin compound is released together with allinase, an
enzyme. Together they produce the allicin chemical that has
a variety of health benefits. More recently, modern studies
show the association of garlic in helping to destroy
potentially dangerous bacteria such as salmonella causing
food poisoning and other bacteria associated with urinary
tract infections and tuberculosis.
Tip: leave garlic to rest for 10 minutes after crushing or
chopping prior to cooking. This enhances the formation of
the chemical allicin!