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Food as Medicine: Garlic

Given its distinct flavor and aroma as well as its myriad of health benefits, it is no wonder that garlic has been used for centuries for both culinary and medicinal purposes!

When garlic bulbs are sliced, chopped, or crushed, sulfur chemicals are released and then converted into the compound allicin. This compound is responsible for most of the health benefits that garlic has to offer. Some of these health benefits include:

  • Helping boost the body's immune system. The presence of allicin stimulates the production of immune cells to enhance the body's immune response.

  • Reducing high blood pressure. High doses of garlic have been shown to improve blood pressure in individuals with hypertension. One study found that garlic supplements may be as effective as regular medications in regulating blood pressure.

  • Reducing cholesterol levels. The allicin present in garlic inhibits the production of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which may help to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

  • Helping with cancer prevention. Studies have shown that individuals who eat more raw or cooked garlic are less likely to get colon, stomach, and esophagus cancers.

  • Detoxifying the body. Garlic is rich in antioxidants, which work to fight off the buildup of harmful particles in the body.

This traditional cooking video may inspire you to find new ways of enjoying more garlic in your life:

Please see below for our quick and easy Water Spinach and Garlic Stir-Fry recipe!

 

Water Spinach and Garlic Stir-fry


Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of water spinach

  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons of Chinese cooking sherry

  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. To prep the water spinach, trim about 1 inch off the ends with a knife.

  2. Break or cut the water spinach into 3-5 inch segments.

  3. Wash the water spinach thoroughly in cold water and dry thoroughly. We suggest using a salad spinner for ease.

  4. In a large skillet with a lid, heat avocado oil on high heat.

  5. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. This should take approximately 5 seconds.

  6. Add the water spinach to the pan and stir-fry.

  7. Stir-fry in the remaining ingredients and cover with a lid, letting the contents steam for 2 minutes.

  8. Serve immediately for best results!

 

References:


Ansary J, Forbes-Hernández TY, Gil E, Cianciosi D, Zhang J, Elexpuru-Zabaleta M, Simal-Gandara J, Giampieri F, Battino M. Potential Health Benefit of Garlic Based on Human Intervention Studies: A Brief Overview. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 Jul 15;9(7):619. doi: 10.3390/antiox9070619. PMID: 32679751; PMCID: PMC7402177.


Arreola, R., Quintero-Fabian, S., Lopez-Roa, R. I., Flores-Gutierrez, E. O., Reyes-Grajeda, J. P., Carrera-Quintanar, L., & Ortuno-Sahagun, D. (2015). Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds. Journal of Immunology Research, 2015. National Library of Medicine. 10.1155/2015/401630


Ashraf, R., Khan, R. A., Ashraf, I., & Qureshi, A. A. (2013). Effects of Allium sativum (garlic) on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with essential hypertension. Pak J Pharm Sci, 26(5), 859-863. National Library of Medicine.

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