Garlic is famous for giving you pungent breath – bad enough, of course, to keep away vampires! It’s a versatile ingredient, added to stews, pasta dishes, soups, and used in spare quantities in salad. You can roast garlic and eat it. In some cities in the Baltic States, you can find restaurants where everything is flavored with garlic – even the ice cream! There’s no shortage of ways to eat garlic, and it’s also very healthy too.
Garlic is believed to be very good for the heart. It’s true that countries that use a lot of garlic in their national cuisines tend to have very low rates of heart disease – these include Italy, Middle-Eastern cuisines, France and many more countries around the Med. However, the connection between garlic and heart disease is currently inconclusive. Garlic is unlikely to do you any harm, but it shouldn’t be relied upon to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Garlic is an antioxidant. It can help to cleanse your blood and liver of nasties found in the environment, and in cigarette smoke and alcohol.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic. It’s much weaker than medically prescribed antibiotics, so should not be used in lieu of them. However, regular consumption is believed to reduce your risk of catching an infection. It can be used against salmonella, listeria, streptococcal infections, and candida.
Consuming garlic can reduce your chance of being bitten by insects, particularly midges. Some campers in Scotland swear by a course of garlic pills ahead of any encounters with these vicious pests. Although garlic can help in fairly mild midge swarms, you’re also advised to take smoke coils,very strong insect repellent, citrus candles and just about anything else you can lay your hands on if you’re going to areas with high midge levels.
Garlic is very effective at preventing blood clots from forming. This means that regular consumption can reduce your risk of having a stroke. This property of garlic means that it can interact with anticoagulant drugs – however, you’d need to be eating vast quantities of garlic or garlic supplements for this to happen, so don’t let it stop you adding garlic to your spaghetti Bolognese or curry.
Garlic can be found just about anywhere. Greengrocers and supermarkets sell fresh garlic, and many also sell jars of ready peeled and chopped cloves and garlic-flavored olive oil. If the smell of garlic bothers you, then you can buy odor free garlic supplements from health food stores. You can also by smoked garlic and other unusual forms of garlic at many delicatessens.