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healthy bytes: goodness of garlic

Apart from warding off vampires and tasting oh-so-good with cheese, what do you know about garlic?

What is garlic?

Garlic is a member of the lily family, and a cousin to onions, leeks, chives and shallots. Dating back 6000 years, it’s a popular food in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean. Known for its medicinal and aphrodisiacal qualities, garlic was so prized in ancient Egypt that it was even used as currency. In Western culture, however, garlic was snubbed by foodies until the 1940s when it was discovered to be a delicious seasoning.

Why should I eat garlic?

Firstly, it tastes great! It’s a healthier and tastier seasoning than salt, and enhances pastas, curries, rice dishes, pizzas… Just about anything savoury.

Historically, garlic has been believed to protect against plague, cure cervical cancer and act as an antibiotic. More recent studies have shown garlic to be a powerful antioxidant that can reduce tumours, blood clots and stroke.

In terms of general wellbeing, garlic is a natural cold-fighter, strengthening the immune system and warding off viral and bacterial infections.

How can I add more garlic to my diet?

1. Do you hate preparing garlic as much as I do? To avoid the finicky chopping and garlicky fingers, invest in a garlic crusher to save time and effort. From experience, the crushers at IKEA are cheap and sturdy.

2. My boyfriend is a health nut and recently crushed ten garlic cloves into our bottle of olive oil. Now we have a hint of garlic in every meal, without any effort.

3. Two words. Garlic bread. Need I say more? Make your own as a healthier alternative to the defrost kind.

4. Add half a clove to fresh juices – raw garlic is the best kind, and you’ll hardly taste the tang.

5. My mum’s tip: look out for frozen garlic cubes at the supermarket – they’re pre-crushed and can be dropped into a dish minutes before serving.

6. If you really hate the taste of garlic or are worried about bad breath, you can take garlic in supplement form, just like Vitamin C.

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Share your own garlic tips below!

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