Stinky, Smelly, Glorious Garlic.
Garlic is great. I love it and luckily my partner loves it too (though some of our friends may not).
I had always been told that garlic was good for your health – particularly with regards to warding off the common cold – so when I started doing some research on it for this post you can imagine how disappointed I was to find out that this seems to be a bit of an old wives tail, with recent medical studies suggesting it had no significant effect.
There is some good news for it’s health claims though. Taken from the NHS website it states that there is good evidence to show that it reduces blood pressure, produces moderate reductions in cholesterol levels, probably protects against bowel and stomach cancers and increases blood circulation.
When crushed or bruised, garlic releases Allicin which is a sulphuric compound that is a natural antibiotic. WWI soldiers even apparently used crushed garlic on infected wounds suffered in battle.
Garlic contains high levels of vitamin C as well as high levels of iodine which makes it a very effective treatment for hyperthyroid conditions.
Garlic is a great source of vitamin B6 which is needed for a healthy immune system and the efficient growth of new cells. This may also be why it has been suggested to pregnant women who wanted their baby to gain weight in the womb. Vitamin B6 can also assist with reducing mood swings.
Garlic is particularly useful in cooking as it provides an alternative to salt in adding flavour to meals, along with lemon juice, chilli, herbs and spices. By reducing the salt in out diets we reduce our water retention which helps people who are suffering from this or high blood pressure.
As with everything Garlic should be consumed in moderation as in large doses, garlic can be detrimental to your health. The properties of garlic actually get into your bloodstream which is why it is so effective in so many ways. What this does mean, however, is that when you sweat, garlic can come out through your pores. Although this may not be a pleasant side effect it has been said that this deters mosquitoes, so if you suffer badly from reactions to these bites, it may be worth it. Many people who eat larger than normal amounts of garlic report increased body odour, or at least their friends do! If you are increasing the garlic in your diet, you might want to consider increasing your parsley quota too. Chewing on parsley is very effective to remove ‘garlic breath’ which can be a problem.
So whether you are looking for a healthy diet or just have a vampire phobia, enjoy your garlic this week 🙂