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My first soiree into the garlic world came from a late night TV host with an affinity for garlic only matched by his equal — less animal-friendly — love of pork fat. The pork fat part didn’t stick, but I’ve kept Emeril Lagasse’s tendencies to add “about 30 cloves of garlic” to everything. I just love it. In fact, I’ve met very few people who don’t.

Garlic is a sense sensation. The smell of it sizzling fills a room with an attention-grabbling aroma and, holy roasted clove, does it pay off when it gets to those taste buds. Garlic is a strong flavor, one that lets you know you’ve eaten it, and one that most of the world’s cuisines include. There’s good reason for it.

Not only is garlic delicious, but it also has all sorts of benefits that come along with it. And, I can promise you it’s not all about vampires, either. Garlic has medicinal properties out the wazoo, which is why it is one flavor not to skip out on.

Health Benefits of Garlic

Let’s just take a glance at some highlights from the life-boosting benevolence of our friend, garlic.

  • It’s a high content food, full of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, manganese and selenium…with noteable amounts of calcium, fiber, copper potassium, iron, and so on…yet isn’t a calorie hog.
  • It helps to both prevent and cure colds, flus, and other annoying everyday illnesses.
  • High doses of garlic means a reduction in high blood pressure, and debatably, it does so just as well as prescribed medication. And, while we are in the cardiovascular system, we should mention better cholesterol levels,  lessening the risk of other heart problems.
  • It’s also brain-friendly, with antioxidants believed to prevent cell damage and ageing, in turn preventing serious illnesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • It naturally and painlessly detoxes the body. The sulfur in garlic protects internal organs from heavy metal toxicity.

And, that’s just a garlic sampler. It also helps with iron absorption, inflammation, infection, obesity and viruses. Don’t doubt the powers for a second.

How to Eat It Right

Chances are, if you are a good cook, garlic already features often in your dishes. Nonetheless, here are some tips to help with getting the most out of it.

  • Let it sit after it’s chopped or crushed. Cooking or combining it with acid will take away some of the powerful enzymes at work in there. Letting it rest a bit helps preserve them. Or, there’s always slicing it small and adding it raw to prepared dishes. I love it that way.
  • Don’t be afraid to spread it around. Garlic isn’t just for spaghetti sauce. It works fantastically across a whole spectrum of soups, sauces, spreads and breads. Try this garlic zinger spread.
  • Kick up dishes another notch (another Lagasse-ism) by adding garlic to unsuspecting things. Why eat plain, old cashew cheese when it could be garlic herb avocado cashew cream cheese? Why straight-up mashed potatoes when it could be roasted garlic mashed potatoes?
  • Check out our many recipes that include garlic.

And, then, there is just eating garlic itself. There’s no need to hide it behind something else. It’s great on its own: roasted, boiled in a little Cajun seasoning, or pureed with olive oil.

Eating garlic often and bountifully just makes for a healthier body. And, why risk it with the whole vampire thing if you don’t have to? You’ve got the info, you’ve got the recipes, and now you need to get the garlic.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons