An Introduction to Garlic
Garlic belongs to the Allium species of plant, sometimes known as the ‘lily family.’ It’s closely related to onions, shallots and leeks and shares many of their nutritional qualities. It’s most recognisable feature is arguably its strong smell, and it has been used in cooking and medicine for over 4,000 years!
It’s even alleged that the slaves that built the Great Pyramid were fed garlic to increase their stamina. Of course, there’s no certain way to tell if it worked, but garlic does contain a multitude of health benefits, making it enormously popular across the globe!
Varieties of Garlic
Since garlic is grown all over the world it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The two main types that you are most likely to encounter are soft-neck garlic bulbs and hard-neck garlic bulbs. The soft-neck variety is the one that you’re probably familiar with seeing on supermarket shelves.
Unlike the hardneck variety, the stalk is flexible and the bulb enjoys a longer shelf-life than other varieties. The hardneck variety is more colourful and can even flower, although they favour milder climates with cold winters. Some also say that hardneck garlic has a more delicate taste.
Each of these two variants has their own subtypes, with an array of distinct flavours. Silverskin may be a good choice if you want a milder flavour, however if you crave a stronger taste and live in a warmer climate, it may be a good idea to choose a more exotic subtype, such as the Chinese Xi’ian garlic or Rocambole.1
Garlic is extremely nutritious and is chockfull of antioxidant properties, helping to ward off infection and support the immune system. It’s naturally low in fat and high in allicin, a valuable compound that can help to prevent free radical damage while reducing your cholesterol.
The herb is also rich in vitamins and minerals, with 100g providing 95% of your daily intake of vitamin B6, as well as 52% of your vitamin C and 21% of your iron RDA!2
Whether it’s warding off vampires or even the Black Death, garlic has been considered a must-have for getting rid of unwanted plagues for centuries and it looks like there might be some worth to the tales.
Our founder, renowned naturopath Alfred Vogel certainly perceived that garlic had a number of health benefits, especially when it came to its “rejuvenating effect on circulation” and supporting your body’s defences against the cold or flu virus.
This could in part be due to its high concentration of vitamin C, allicin and vitamin B6, helping to increase your immunity and enhance your circulation. Research has even indicated that some of the qualities of garlic may help to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, keeping your heart healthy!
The anti-fungal properties of garlic certainly make it popular with those that suffer from fungal skin infections. It’s also popular for skin blemishes as garlic can help to purify the blood, helping you to develop clear, healthy skin!
Baked Garlic Ravioli
Herby Roasted Vegetables with Grilled Halloumi