Some people don't love garlic, but I don't know them. Garlic is a staple in dishes around the world, adding flavour and character to even the simplest of foods. Is your pasta bland? Toss in some garlic. Want to add kick to your sauces, veggies, side dishes or salad? Mince or grate in the garlic. It just makes things taste better. But besides flavour, did you know garlic has potent health benefits?
Garlic is part of the allum family, along with onions, shallots, chives, leeks and green onions. The allum family is high in sulfur compounds (giving them that unique aroma and flavour) and is said to boost immunity, reduce inflammation and reduce blood sugar. My Polish parents each ate several raw garlic cloves a day for decades--they're 97 and 92; just saying.
Certified Nutritionist Dr. Vikki Petersen highlights four health benefits of adding garlic to your diet:
Benefit #1: Boosts your immune system
Garlic can help boost your immune system to help avoid and fight off viruses (like the common cold). The chemical compounds (flavonols) and sulfur compounds have known anti-viral and tumour-inhibition properties.
Benefit #2: Garlic is rich in antioxidants
Garlic is very rich in antioxidants and, therefore, lessens the effect of oxidative damage, which is tied to premature aging, DNA damage and diseases of the brain including Alzheimer’s and dementia. This is one food that promotes both good physical and mental health!
Benefit #3: Garlic has natural anti-inflammatory abilities
This is important because degenerative diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity and more, are all driven by inflammation. Garlic acts to reduce inflammatory proteins, and as such can help ward off aches and pains in the body, fight depression and even help combat brain fog.
Benefit #4: Garlic is low in calorie and adds incredible flavour
Not only is garlic a low-calorie option, but it also adds delicious flavour to healthy foods you want to eat more of, including vegetables, beans and whole grains (hummus, homemade salad dressing, roasted vegetables, sauteed vegetables, and more). Want just about anything to taste better? Throw some garlic on it!