Probably everyone has heard about the benefits of garlic. First of all, it is remembered in the cold season, when it is necessary to maintain health, or during an influenza epidemic. After all, garlic has all the known antiviral properties.
History of garlic
This is one of the oldest vegetable crops. Mentioned as early as 2600 BC on clay tablets of the Sumerians. Garlic was considered a magical plant and was used to save crops from pests. According to Egyptian legend, the pharaoh introduced a daily portion of the slaves who built the pyramids, a portion of garlic to maintain their physical strength. The Greeks used garlic with honey to treat lung disease, as well as to improve male fertility. In Rome, legionnaires wore garlic on their chests as a talisman and used it as antibacterial and antiparasitic agents. In Europe, garlic was considered a magical and medicinal plant, it was used to treat plague and fight against evil spirits. The first scientific study of garlic, conducted in the middle of the XIX century by Pasteur, proved the antibacterial properties of the vegetable – microbes did not grow in areas around the cloves. Garlic solution was used in the fight against infections during the First World War. The vegetable was brought to Russia in the 9th century.
The Spanish city of Las Pedronieras is officially considered the World Capital of Garlic.
Garlic contains many useful substances: potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamins B and C, selenium, manganese, iodine, and essential oils. At the same time, garlic is a fairly high-calorie product – 100 g contains 149 kcal. But this spicy vegetable is consumed in small quantities and it will not harm the figure. However, garlic helps increase appetite.
Garlic contains volatile products – volatile substances that protect the plant from parasites and bacteria. When phytoncides are used in food, bactericidal, antiparasitic, and antifungal effects are observed. As a result of the study, it turned out that a group of people who regularly use garlic caught a cold three times less often than those who did not eat garlic at all.
Garlic has a positive effect on the functioning of the cardiovascular system. Regular consumption of this vegetable stimulates blood formation and also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. The risk of thrombosis and blood viscosity is reduced. The state of blood vessels affects the ability to absorb oxygen, stamina, and the speed of blood flow to organs, so garlic affects the sexual function of men. In addition, this vegetable contributes to the production of the male sex hormone testosterone.
It turned out that garlic reduces the likelihood of cancer. The vegetable contains the compound alliin located in the cytoplasm. When cutting a clove of garlic, the integrity of the cells is violated and alliin reacts with the cell enzyme alliinase. As a result, the substance allicin is formed, which gives the garlic its specific smell. The substance is not absorbed by the body and is excreted with sweat, urine, respiration. Allicin is an antioxidant and can help prevent the development of lung cancer, as Chinese scientists have found. The substance kills cancer cells and reduces the likelihood of infectious processes in the respiratory system.
Calories per 100 g – 149 kcal
Proteins – 6.5 g
Fat 0.5 g
Carbohydrate – 29.9 g
Garlic contains potent substances, an excess of which can lead to undesirable consequences.
You should be extremely careful to eat garlic and not exceed a reasonable norm since an excess of volatile in the body can lead to poisoning. You should not eat garlic on an empty stomach and people with exacerbations of gastrointestinal diseases, so as not to provoke heartburn or cramping. This vegetable stimulates appetite, so you need to limit its use during diets. With epilepsy, it is better not to eat garlic, as it can provoke an attack. With caution, give this vegetable to children and allergy sufferers, especially fresh.
The use of garlic in medicine
Pharmaceuticals offer herbal medicine based on garlic in the form of a powder in capsules and tinctures. The drugs are indicated for colds, inflammatory processes, diseases of the cardiovascular system, and as part of a comprehensive treatment for cancer. The tincture is also used externally to combat calluses and purulent skin inflammations. Despite the natural composition of the drug, there is no need to self-medicate, before use it is necessary to consult a doctor so that he controls the dosage and method of use of the drug.
Worldwide, garlic is used in folk medicine. Hindus use it to treat asthma, the French treat flu, the Germans treat tuberculosis, gastrointestinal tract diseases, and even baldness. In traditional oriental medicine, garlic is classified as a product that improves metabolism and stimulates the digestive process.
The beneficial effects of garlic on the cardiovascular system were noted in a 2007 study. It was found that the interaction of the components of garlic with red blood cells causes vasodilation and lowers blood pressure. American scientists have found that garlic extract destroys plaques in the arteries and helps prevent heart attacks.
Diallyl sulfide makes garlic an effective remedy against bacteria that cause food poisoning. Based on it, scientists plan to develop an antibacterial drug.
The anti-cancer properties of allicin in garlic have been confirmed by the University of California. During experiments with gamma-irradiation of leukocytes, it turned out that the cells cultured in the garlic extract retained their viability in contrast to cells living under ordinary conditions. Thus, garlic preparations are good prevention for people interacting with ionizing radiation.
Garlic is also used in cosmetology. Hoods and squeezes are found as part of anti-hair loss, warts, and fungal diseases and for the care of inflamed skin. The antifungal and bactericidal properties of garlic make it an effective remedy against these diseases. In folk medicine, there are many recipes for garlic masks, but they should be used only after consulting a dermatologist to avoid burns and an allergic reaction.
The use of garlic in cooking
Garlic has won a place of honor in all the cuisines of the world. Both cloves and arrows are used in food. Fresh garlic is added to salads, stews, meat, insist oil for flavoring. Arrows pickle and salt. In the United States, unusual dishes are prepared from garlic – jam and ice cream. Heat treatment removes the sharpness and reduces the smell of garlic, but also reduces the activity of many nutrients. It should be borne in mind that after eating fresh garlic for some time, its smell persists, which cannot be eliminated by chewing or brushing your teeth, since volatile compounds are released with sweat, saliva, and sebum.
Garlic is recommended to be used with whole grain cereals, which contain a lot of zinc and iron, as this vegetable contributes to better assimilation of these elements.
Mashed baked garlic and spread on crackers, toasts, bread rolls. Mix with oil, add to casseroles and sauces.
Garlic – a few whole heads without arrows
To clear heads from several external layers, having left the last. Trim the top by opening the slices. Pour olive oil and wrap each head in foil. Lay on a baking sheet and bake at 180 degrees 40 minutes. The exact time depends on the size.
Sour Cream Garlic Sauce
A useful low-calorie substitute for mayonnaise. An excellent salad dressing, as well as a sauce for meat, fish, vegetables, and casseroles. Greens can be replaced with another favorite.
Garlic – 5 medium cloves
Sour cream (10%) – a glass
Salt, pepper – to taste
Wash greens and finely chop. Pass the peeled garlic cloves through the garlic squeezer. Mix everything with sour cream, add salt and pepper, mix.
How to choose and store garlic
When choosing, it is important to pay attention to the absence of rot and mold. The head of garlic should be in a dry husk without voids and damage. Sprouted arrows gradually reduce the degree of usefulness of the vegetable, so it is better to buy ahead without green arrows.
In the refrigerator, garlic is stored for no longer than a month – further away from excessive humidity it begins to deteriorate. For longer storage, dry, dark, cool places, such as an underfloor, are suitable.
The peeled cloves are stored in the refrigerator for several days, while it is important to keep them in a closed container, otherwise, the smell of garlic will permeate the chamber for a long time.