The pungent and distinctive flavour of garlic can be detected in food from around the world. Here are some of the benefits as well as fascinating facts about this humble kitchen staple.
The health benefits of the bulbous garlic were well known since ancient times. Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460 to 370 BC) prescribed garlic for ailments ranging from respiratory problems to fatigue. Today, various types of garlic supplements line supermarket shelves and are recognised as immunity boosters.
- Garlic is closely related to the onion, chive, leek and shallot.
- Olympic athletes in ancient Greece used garlic as a performance enhancing agent.
- In the old days, people in India who were born into the ‘upper class’ as well as monks, widows, adolescents, and those who were fasting for religious reasons, did not eat garlic as it was known to be a stimulant. In some parts of India, this practice continues today.
- Short-term heating reduces the anti-inflammatory properties of fresh and raw garlic extracts.
- Due to ageing, arteries may become less flexible and harden (artherosclerosis) but garlic appears to be able to reduce this effect.
- Garlic produces allicin which is the element that helps with healing. Allicin is also the component that creates the unimistakable smell of garlic.
- Garlic interacts with medications for HIV/AIDS. The body breaks down medication for excretion and garlic accelerates this process. Thus, taking garlic along with medication for HIV/AIDS could decrease the effectiveness of the drugs as it increases the rate that it’s expelled from the body.