Food of the Week: Garlic

Part of the onion family, garlic has been appreciated for its healing qualities since 3000 BC.

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Super low in calories, garlic is surprisingly rich in vitamins: vitamin C, vitamin B6 and B1 and manganese, with pretty high levels of calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus and iron.

Garlic has been shown to reduce levels of the bad cholesterols (low-density lipoproteins) whilst increasing high-density lipoprotein levels, great for reducing the risk of heart disease. It’s also amazing for lowering blood pressure.

When garlic is crushed, ajoene is released. This compound prevents blood clotting – often individuals at risk of clotting are given garlic supplements.

It has major anti-fungal properties, powerful enough to fight infections such as yeast infections. Garlic can even fight a lot of the bacteria that can lead onto food poisoning. One of the worst is helicobacter pylori. This monster causes stomach ulcers. The compound allicin in garlic can prevent ulcers undergoing cancerous changes.

Use the side of a large chopping knife to crush the clove, and then finely chop.

Leave for 5-10 mins before cooking, as this releases more of the oils, and actually results in a stronger richer flavour. The compound allicin is only actually formed when the clove is crushed, so cooking the cloves whole won’t have the same benefit…

Roast smashed cloves with potatoes and veggies.

Add crushed and chopped to sautéed peppers then scramble in eggs.

Use crushed and chopped as part of the base for all tomato sauces: for pasta, for veggies. Crush and add to sautéed mushrooms, onions and peppers just before you add chopped tomatoes.

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