Food & Fitness Friday: Garlic

It is closely related to onions, shallots and leeks. Each segment of a garlic bulb is called a clove. There are about 10–20 cloves in a single bulb, give or take.

Garlic grows in many parts of the world and is a popular ingredient in cooking due to its strong smell and delicious taste.

However, throughout ancient history, the main use of garlic was for its health and medicinal properties.

Scientists now know that most of its health benefits are caused by sulfur compounds formed when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed or chewed.

The sulfur compounds from garlic enter the body from the digestive tract and travel all over the body, where it exerts its potent biological effects.

Garlic Is Highly Nutritious But Has Very Few Calories

Calorie for calorie, garlic is incredibly nutritious.

One clove (3 grams) of raw garlic contains:

Manganese, Vitamin B6,Vitamin C,

Selenium,Fiber and small amounts of calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B1

This comes with 4.5 calories, 0.2 grams of protein and 1 gram of carbs.

Garlic also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients. In fact, it contains a little bit of almost everything you need.

High doses of garlic appear to improve blood pressure for those with known high blood pressure. In some instances, supplements may be as effective as regular medications.

Garlic supplements seem to reduce total and LDL cholesterol, particularly in those who have high cholesterol. HDL cholesterol and triglycerides do not seem to be affected.

Garlic contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage and aging. It may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Garlic has known beneficial effects on common causes of chronic disease, so it makes sense that it could also help you live longer.

Garlic may improve physical performance in lab animals and people with heart disease. Benefits in healthy people are not yet conclusive.

Garlic Is Easy to Include in Your Diet and Tastes Absolutely Delicious

Garlic is very easy (and delicious) to include in your current diet.

It complements most savory dishes, particularly soups and sauces. The strong taste of garlic can also add a punch to otherwise bland recipes.

Garlic comes in several forms, from whole cloves and smooth pastes to powders and supplements like garlic extract and garlic oil.

However, keep in mind that there are some downsides to garlic, such as bad breath. There are also some people who are allergic to it.

If you have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood-thinning medications, talk to your doctor before increasing your garlic intake.

A common way to use garlic is to press a few cloves of fresh garlic with a garlic press, then mix it with extra virgin olive oil and a bit of salt.

This a healthy and super satisfying dressing.

The Bottom Line—

For thousands of years, garlic was believed to have medicinal properties.

Science has now confirmed it.

Looking for an easy way to incorporate this superfood? Make a dressing!

Ingredients

1 small clove garlic

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (finely grated)

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)

1/4 teaspoon dry ground mustard

2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or lemon-infused olive oil)

Peel and mince the garlic (you can use a garlic press if you like; presses tend to bring out the bitterness in garlic, but some people don't seem to notice it).

If you're making a salad in the next few hours, put the garlic in a large salad bowl. (If you're making the dressing ahead of time, put the garlic in a sealable jar.)

Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and mustard. Whisk to combine everything (or seal and shake the jar).

Whisk in the olive oil (or, again, seal the jar and shake it vigorously).

Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. If the dressing is too zingy for you, feel free to add more olive oil to soften the flavor. A bit more salt will help temper the acid kick, too.

Use the dressing immediately. If you've made the dressing in the salad bowl, just add the greens to that big bowl and toss!

Or store, covered and chilled, up to 1 week. The olive oil will solidify in the refrigerator, but it will melt quite quickly when set out at room temperature again.

Tips

Zest the lemon before cutting it in half to juice it.

Make the dressing for a salad later that day in the bowl, top with washed and dried greens, and lay a damp (but not wet) paper towel over the leaves. Keep chilled until ready to serve, up to 6 or 8 hours.

Katie Dixon