Get Your Garlic On: Now More Reasons To Love This Allium

When many of us think of superfoods, we tend to envision dark leafy greens, salmon, avocado, seaweed and other powerhouse foods that aren’t always the highest on our deliciousness scale. But just because a certain food is filled with ample vitamins and minerals doesn’t mean it can’t be super flavor-full and delicious—garlic is proof of that!

This plant food, closely related to onions and shallots, has long been loved for its unique and complementary flavor that tastes good with pretty much everything. So the next time you taste garlic in your dish, it won’t just be your taste buds that are happy. With manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium and fiber, your whole body will be satisfied.

So if garlic is effective at improving immune and heart health, as well as fighting certain cancers (thanks to its sulfur containing compounds), and lowering triglycerides and total cholesterol, how can you make sure to get all of these benefits? Well, surprisingly, research suggests that you may be able to see some of these health perks after just eating one meal with raw garlic. That means buying pre-minced garlic, which has been processed, doesn’t pack the nutritional potency of fresh garlic.

To ensure you’re getting all of those antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and overall health boosters that garlic has to offer, keep these tips in mind:

·         Buy one whole head of garlic at a timethe skin should be dry and papery and the visible bulbs should be firm and full, not shriveled.

·         To get the most benefits, chop, slice or crush fresh garlic to use it. This fires up a process that makes its compounds more potent. Wait 5 to 10 minutes before eating or adding to a dish, especially if you'll be mixing it with a highly acidic food like lemon juice.

·         Once you have chopped, sliced or crushed your garlic, make sure to eat it within 48 hours (before some of the sulfur compounds begin to dissipate).

·         Some easy ways to use minced raw garlic are to blend it into avocado, along with red onion, jalapeno and cilantro for guacamole; into chickpeas for hummus; or into cooked white beans for bean dip. Whisked into oil and vinegar with your choice of herbs, garlic adds zest to salad dressings and marinades.

·         But you don't have to always eat it raw. As long as the garlic is fresh, and prepped as noted above, you can enjoy all of its nutritional value by adding into a recipe or dish toward the end of the cooking process.

Get More From Your Garlic

While we’re all in agreement that garlic is pretty great—it’s tasty and nutritious—there are a few simple ways to make it even better. For instance, sautéing it with some of the seasons favorites, like sweet potatoes, butternut squash and/or Brussels sprouts, all of which are nutritional goldmines in their own right.

In addition to eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in essential vitamins and nutrients, don’t forget about the importance of getting routine exercise, relieving stress and keeping up with your primary care provider, all of which ensure lasting health and wellbeing. To schedule an appointment with the health care expert that knows you and your unique health needs best, visit gwinnettmedicalgroup.com/pcpscheduling.

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