Garlic Latest News
Garlic Latest News: For a small vegetable, garlic (Allium sativum) sure has a big, and well deserved, reputation. And although garlic may not always bring good luck, protect against evil, or ward off vampires, characteristics to which it has been assigned in folklore, it is guaranteed to transform any meal into a bold, aromatic, and healthy culinary experience. Garlic is a member of the Lily family and is a cousin to onions, leeks and chives.
What’s New and Beneficial About Garlic
- You can increase the health benefits you receive from garlic by letting it sit after you’ve chopped it or crushed it. If you give your chopped/crushed garlic time to sit before changing its temperature (through cooking) or its pH (through the addition of an acidic food like lemon juice), it will give the alliinase enzymes in garlic an opportunity to work on behalf of your health. For example, in the absence of chopping or crushing, research has shown that just 60 seconds of immediate microwaving will cause garlic to lose some of its cancer-protective properties. Immediate boiling of whole, intact garlic will also lower these properties, as will immediate addition of a very low-acid ingredient like lemon juice.
- Some of garlic’s unique components are most durable in food (versus processed extract) form. Allicin-one of garlic’s most highly valued sulfur compounds-stays intact for only 2-16 hours at room temperature when it is present in purified (extracted) form. But when it’s still inside of crushed garlic, allicin will stay viable for 2-1/2 days.
- Garlic may help improve your iron metabolism. That’s because the diallyl sulfides in garlic can help increase production of a protein called ferroportin. (Ferroportin is a protein that runs across the cell membrane, and it forms a passageway that allows stored iron to leave the cells and become available where it is needed.)
- In addition to being a good source of selenium, garlic may be a more reliable source as well. Garlic is what scientists call a “seleniferous” plant: it can uptake selenium from the soil even when soil concentrations do not favor this uptake.
- The cardioprotective benefits of garlic may partly rest on the production of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. Our red blood cells can take sulfur-containing molecules in garlic (called polysulfides) and use them to produce H2S. This H2S in turn can help our blood vessels expand and keep our blood pressure in check. Interestingly, some processed garlic extracts cannot be used by our red blood cells in the same way and do not seem to provide the same level of cardioprotection that is provided by garlic in food form.
- While still in its very early stages, research suggests that garlic consumption may actually help to regulate the number of fat cells that get formed in our body. 1,2-DT (1,2-vinyldithiin) is one of the unique sulfur compounds in garlic that has long been recognized as having anti-inflammatory properties. But only recently have researchers discovered that some of our fibroblastic cells (called “preadipocytes”) only evolve into full-fledged fat cells (called “adipocytes”) under certain metabolic circumstances involving inflammatory system activity. 1,2-DT may be able to inhibit this conversion process. Since obesity is increasingly viewed by researchers as a chronic state of low-grade inflammation, the inflammation-related benefits of garlic’s 1,2-DT may eventually be extended into the clinical area of obesity.
With their unique combination of flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients, allium vegetables-such as garlic-belong in your diet on a regular basis. There’s research evidence for including at least one serving of an allium vegetable-such as garlic-in your meal plan every day. If you’re choosing garlic as your allium family vegetable, try to include at least ½ clove in your individual food portion – at least 1-2 cloves in a dish.
Garlic provides numerous health benefits including:
- Heart health support
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Antibacterial and antiviral benefits
- Anti-cancer support
- Supports iron metabolism
Health-e-Solutions comment: Garlic is a wonderful seasoning to add aroma, taste, and added nutrition to your dishes. We often use raw chopped or pressed garlic in many of our dishes to take advantage of the benefits derived from garlic. However, if you cannot tolerate raw garlic, you can add chopped garlic to foods while they are cooking. It is best to add it towards the end of the cooking process to retain the maximum amount of flavor and nutrition.
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