Updated: Oct 3
By Valerie Horan
At Free2Be, we encourage you to look at health and wellness as a whole, and nutrition plays a big part in physical and mental wellness. Choosing foods that benefit and fuel the body will set you up for success when working on the other aspects of your overall wellness!
So let’s talk garlic!! Not only does garlic provide fresh, delicious flavours in many different dishes, but it is also known to have some amazing benefits for the body.
Where did garlic come from?
Did you know that garlic is among the oldest known horticulture crops? There is clear historical evidence that dates back about 5000 years in Egyptian and Indian cultures, and some evidence that suggests that garlic was grown in China dating as far back as 4000 years. Today, Central Asia is the only place where garlic grows wild without the assistance of human propagation. You may hear other local plants referred to as wild garlic, but these are other species of the garlic genus (Allium), not garlic itself (Allium sativum).
How can it help the body?
The major compound in garlic is called allicin and it is considered to be one of the most biologically active compounds in garlic. It becomes active when the clove is chopped or crushed and provides the most benefit when eaten raw.
Just 1 single clove contains:
2% DV (daily value) manganese
2% DV vitamin B6
1% DV vitamin C
1% DV selenium
On top of providing you with these important vitamins, garlic may help guard against cancer and protect against blood vessel damage by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, which can also reduce your chances of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Are there any side effects?
As far as I’m concerned, there are only good things that come from garlic but not everyone agrees! Some of the major complaints about raw garlic are indigestion and the popular (and intense) “garlic breath”. The benefits really outweigh the side effects though, taking an antacid will take care of indigestion and mouthwash, brushing your teeth, or having a mint will take care of (most of) the garlic breath!
How can I add more garlic to my diet?
Now that we know a little bit more about how garlic can help the body, let's look at how we can incorporate it into our diet! Try out this bruschetta recipe from allrecipes.com, it's a very fresh, simple dish and is lovely as an appetizer or a snack.