Thanks to its properties, garlic (Allium sativum L) is helpful for the immune, respiratory, and circulatory systems and against colds and flu. Garlic, like the onion ( Allium cepa ), is a bulbous plant that, in addition to helping flavor various dishes, has remarkable beneficial properties. Garlic, for example, promotes cardiovascular health and is very useful for improving blood pressure. What is garlic good for, and how to use it?
Garlic, The Plant
Garlic ( Allium sativum ) is a bulbous perennial plant belonging to the Liliaceae family and native to Asia. However, today, the cultivation of garlic is widespread all over the world. The garlic plant does not require special care and adapts well to many climatic conditions and almost all soil types. Furthermore, growing garlic at home is very simple and can be done in your garden or pots by planting the garlic cloves with the tip facing upwards in November or February. The harvest, however, can take place 5-6 months after sowing.
Varieties of garlic
We know many varieties of garlic; among the best known we remember:
- White garlic is the most common variety, including Piacenza garlic. In the category of white garlic, we also mention black garlic, which, despite the name, does not represent a variety in itself but a product obtained from a fermentation process of white garlic;
- pink garlic, with a delicate taste, grown above all in Naples and Agrigento;
- Red garlic, with a strong flavor, of which the best known is the garlic of Sulmona and the red garlic of Nubia.
Garlic, Nutritional Values , And Calories
100 g of raw garlic provides:
- 53 calories
- Protein 8.4g
- Lipids 0.8 g
- Carbohydrates 1 g
- Sugars 1
- Fiber 4 g
Garlic And Allicin
Allicin is a compound that forms in garlic when cut and crushed. Numerous beneficial properties of garlic are due to it, such as:
- Protective properties against cardiovascular risk;
- Antibacterial properties.
Garlic, The Properties
A clove of garlic a day could fight many diseases; in fact, garlic has numerous beneficial properties for health; let’s see which are the main ones:
- Strengthens the immune system ;
- regulates blood pressure ;
- improves cholesterol levels ;
- antioxidant properties;
- antifungal and antibiotic properties;
- promotes cardiovascular health.
Garlic, A Natural Antibiotic
Thanks to allicin and garlic, it could be argued that garlic is a natural antibiotic; these substances have antifungal and antibiotic activity, thus counteracting the infection and proliferation of viruses and bacteria.
Garlic At The Table
Garlic has a spicy taste, so everyone does not love it; however, regulating the dose well can make the dish more palatable. Furthermore, using spices and aromatic herbs can be helpful for flavoring dishes by reducing the consumption of salt and sauces, thus obtaining a benefit for cardiovascular health. Garlic can be eaten raw or cooked; it can be used to flavor sauces, oil, first courses, vegetables, soups, meatballs, or salads. An alternative and exciting use of garlic is that of marinated garlic, with a more delicate and digestible flavor, therefore useful if you prefer a less invasive taste or if you have difficulty digesting garlic.
Recipes With Garlic
There are numerous recipes with garlic; among the best known, we indeed find pasta with garlic, oil, and chili pepper. Remaining in the Italian culinary tradition, we also recall the recipe for garlic pesto, a typical recipe of the Ligurian region, based on garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan. A tasty recipe that can be useful to accompany fried foods or fish is the Greek skordalià, a sauce made with garlic and potatoes or walnuts. Finally, garlic can also be used to flavor guacamole, an avocado-based sauce, or oil as a condiment for meat or fish.
Who Shouldn’t Eat Garlic?
Although garlic is a safe and beneficial food, there are some conditions in which it would be better to avoid or limit its consumption. Let’s see some contraindications of garlic and when it would be better not to eat it daily. Garlic can worsen gastroesophageal reflux symptoms, so in this case, it should be consumed in moderation. For the same reason, it must be avoided in the case of gastritis. Given the properties of garlic to lower blood pressure, it should be consumed in moderation in case of hypotension. It is also not recommended in the case of anticoagulant therapy.
Cosmetic Uses Of Garlic
Some cosmetic uses of garlic involve the skin and hair. In particular, garlic would seem helpful for improving the condition of oily hair and scalp. Therefore, one can drink wild garlic tea for the hair or apply it directly to the scalp.
Garlic In Homeopathy
In homeopathy, garlic (garlic-based solution) is recommended to treat specific ailments, including:
- Digestive difficulties;
- articular pains;
- intestinal pains;
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