The culinary magic of garlic has spiced up our cooking since ancient times. Given pride of place in every kitchen the world over, this first-class nutraceutical spice not only miraculously enlivens our taste buds & transforms countless dishes; it also endows us with science-backed disease-preventing & health-boosting effects.
To that end, when we add garlic to our meals, we empower our bodies with its lipid-lowering, anti-inflammatory & antioxidant properties.
All of which help us fight a rainbow of common diseases and conditions including: common colds, high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease, & even cancer 
Did you know that although garlic is normally used as a spice, botanically speaking, it's classed as a vegetable!
Interestingly, garlic absorbs sulphate (mineral salts) from the earth. - This is integrated within the garlic, and when it's prepared and consumed, it can be broken down into a whopping 50 different compounds!
And are you aware that garlic is high in nutrients, yet low in calories, making it a first-class combo? Vitamin B6 provides 2% of the Recommended Daily Value (DV) Manganese provides 2% DV Vitamin C provides 1% DV Selenium provides 1% DV
And on top of this, garlic also offers us small amounts of Vitamin B1, iron, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and copper 
Garlic Health Benefits
Garlic Helps Boost Immunity
Allicin and alliinase are two beneficial chemicals that are found in abundance in the flavorful bulbs that are found at the very tip of the garlic plant. In point of fact, the existence of allicin in garlic contributes to the strengthening of the immune system.
According to a study that was conducted in 2015, garlic has the ability to strengthen the immune system by stimulating various immune cells. These immune cells include macrophages, lymphocytes, and natural killer cells. According to Brigman, the antimicrobial and antibiotic properties of garlic may also help prevent colds and the flu. These properties would prevent the development of viruses, bacteria, and other unwanted organisms. Garlic has been shown to have these properties.
Garlic Helps Reduce Cancer Risk
Garlic is also an excellent source of phytochemicals, which serve to provide protection against cell damage and lower your risk of developing certain cancers. Phytochemicals are found in abundance in garlic.
Compounds found in vegetables and fruits that have been linked to a lower chance of developing chronic illnesses are called phytochemicals. Garlic may contain phytochemicals that, when consumed, may have anticarcinogenic effects and may theoretically lower the risk of stomach and colorectal cancers. There is some evidence to support this claim.
Garlic Helps Reduce Improve Heart Health
Garlic consumption appears to contribute to overall protection for one's heart.
According to a study that was conducted in 2013, garlic may be able to lower levels of lipids in the blood. This results in lower levels of cholesterol and, as a result, a reduced chance of plaque buildup in the cardiovascular system.
The quantity of garlic that an individual needs to consume in order to experience these positive effects on heart health can vary.
Garlic Helps Improve Your Workouts
Garlic was traditionally consumed by Ancient Greek competitors prior to competition in order to enhance their performance. This is due to the fact that garlic causes the production of nitric oxide, a substance that relaxes blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. In order to provide working muscles with a greater quantity of oxygen, this compound is frequently released when running.
According to a review from 2007, various animal studies, including ones involving rats and mice, have discovered that garlic can improve athletic endurance.
One raw clove of garlic has roughly 14 calories, 0.57 grams of protein, and about three grams of carbohydrates
Though one raw clove of garlic is pretty small, there is actually a significant amount of the following vitamins and nutrients:
- Vitamin C (2.81 mg)
- Selenium (1.28 mcg)
- Manganese (0.15 mg)
- Iron (0.15 mg)
What Sort of Food Do You Connect with Garlic?
Whether it's delicious must-have garlic bread, homemade pesto, creamy garlic pasta with roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic pasta (made by roasting a head of garlic with salt and olive oil in the oven); spicy spaghetti with garlic mushrooms, garlicky smashed sweet or roasted potatoes; vegan garlic noodles, roasted garlic mushrooms, beet-balls with garlic-basil tomato sauce; aubergine slices sautéed in olive oil with crushed garlic; ginger garlic chickpeas, garlic cashew cream cheese, garlic chutney, garlic vegan cheese biscuits, or a hundred thousand other things, there's something to delight everyone.
Experimenting with the Level of Intensity
Garlic plays a myriad of exciting culinary roles. - It can endow food with subtle flavoring, intense flavoring, and any note in-between.
This King of Spices has such an intriguing flavor, that it
can create anything from a mild infusion to a vampire-fighting frenzy that set your taste buds alight!
For example, a vegan roast could be cooked with 30 whole cloves, yet only give off a mild garlicky infusion; whereas a guacamole dish which is made using just one large freshly crushed clove, could knock you for six!
Have You Heard of Something Called Allicin?
Allicin, is the health-promoting Sulphur compound which gives garlic its infamous garlicky taste. This compound is activated when two substances named alliin and alliinase (the latter is the enzyme which creates a chemical reaction), interact.
This chemical reaction takes place when the garlic clove's cells are broken down via slicing, crushing, cutting, and, in some cases, biting!
The Secrets of Preparing & Cooking Garlic
To set free garlic's wondrous flavor, and the maximum amount of allicin, the cloves must be minced or crushed as finely as possible.
If you only roughly slice or chop the cloves, then the chemical reaction from the cells will be quite subtle. And the result will be even milder, if you cook with an unpeeled clove.
The latter is ideal if you are aiming for mellow sweetness. But the main thing to remember, is that everything is trial and error in the kitchen, so have fun experimenting, and see what you friends and family think of your different creations!
The main point to be mindful of, is that it's not just the preparation that impacts the intricacy and strength of the dish's garlicky flavour - it is also the way we use the spice.
Garlic's alliinase enzymes which release garlic's powerful unique aroma, lose their potency when they are subject to heat from cooking.
This means that garlic is at its most pungent when it's served fresh and raw; and at its most mellow when it is cooked.
For all you garlic lovers out there who want nothing less than the strongest kick of garlic, whether you're ordering a fabulous take-away, or preparing something yourself at home, make sure that the garlic is only added during the final stage of cooking. Enjoy!
. Ansary J, Forbes-Hernández TY, Gil E, et al. Potential Health Benefit of Garlic Based on Human Intervention Studies: A Brief Overview. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020;9(7):619. Published 2020 Jul 15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7402177/
. Leech, J. (2018). "11 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic." Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic