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Garlic belongs to a plant that is a part of the lily family.
Garlic grows underground as a bulb, traditionally used for its health benefits. The plant's green shoots give rise to flower stalks known as scapes, which are also edible.
It is one of the oldest vegetables in the world, and it has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for decades, if not centuries. The garlic bulb is covered with papery-like skin, which is inedible. The garlic bulb, also called a head, is comprised of smaller individual pieces called 'cloves.' There are approximately 10-20 cloves present in one single garlic bulb or head. It contains antioxidants in abundance, which can help improve a person's heart condition along with their cardiovascular health. It is usually readily available at very low prices and is used as a spice or flavoring item rather than serving as the main ingredient for a dish. Discussed in this article are some of the most interesting nutritional facts about garlic. So if you're looking to add this flavorful herb to your diet, read on!
Traditionally used as a dietary supplement for its health benefits, garlic is best known for being highly effective for people with heart disease and conditions related to blood pressure. A lot of research has been conducted on garlic and its effects on a person's health conditions, and even though there is no definite result as of now, there are conflicting pieces of evidence that suggest that garlic may possess high health benefits, but at the same time, may also be the cause behind a certain degree of problems in one's body.
The name 'garlic' is actually said to have been derived from Anglo-Saxon speech, i.e., a combination of two words; 'gar (spear)' and 'lac' (plant).
There is a lot of confusion about the common perception regarding the classification of garlic, which some consider a herb, some a spice, and even one of the vegetables.
Scientifically, garlic is considered a part of the lily family, a relative of onions and leeks.
With its origin based somewhere in Central Asia, garlic has more than 450 varieties in today's time.
According to a 2012 study, currently, China is the largest producer of garlic with an estimated production of around 46 billion lb (20.8 billion kg) per year, two-thirds of the entire world's garlic produce.
It is believed to have been cultivated around 4,000 years ago for the first time and was incorporated as a regular dietary item by ancient Egyptians, the first to do so for its health benefits and medicinal properties.
It has an intense taste and aroma, distinguishing it from other spices and herbs which are used during cooking.
It is among the most essential ingredient in near about every kind of cuisine across the globe, be it American dishes, Latin, African, or even European.
It is, however, maximally utilized in Asian cuisine, which is known for its unique taste and flavor, most of which is attributed to the inclusion of garlic, especially raw garlic and garlic extract.
Cats and dogs are incapable of ingesting garlic, especially raw garlic cloves because it is toxic for them.
Garlic was nicknamed the 'Russian Penicillin' as it was provided to soldiers during World War II in order to help boost their immune system and build natural strength to fight off diseases and infections.
You must store garlic only in dark, dry, and cool places, separately from other food items.
On an estimate, an average person consumes around 302 garlic cloves in one year, with each clove weighing around 0.105 oz (3 g), translating to almost 2 lb (907.1 g) of garlic every year.
One of the more fascinating facts about garlic is that the original sticky juice type liquid, which flows after crushing the clove, is also useful as an adhesive gum used to handle several delicate products.
Fresh garlic bulbs in themselves, along with several other garlic products, are filled with nutrition and minerals like vitamins, protein, etc., along with notable beneficial qualities which are helpful for our body through food products like garlic oil and garlic powder. It has an extensive set of nutritional values, which we are going to know more about.
Garlic, even though it has high nutrition and is categorized as a superfood, is still low in terms of calories, with the value count of one clove of garlic, raw, weighing approximately 0.006 oz (3 g) is as follows: 4.5 calories, 0.007 oz (0.2 g) of protein, 0.03 oz (1 g) of carbohydrates, 0.002 oz (0.06 g) of fiber along with 2% of the daily value of Manganese, 2% of the DV of vitamin B6, 1% of the DV of vitamin C, 1% of the DV of selenium and limited amounts of vitamin B1, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron.
It is an outstanding source of vitamin B as well as vitamin C, as well as minerals containing decent amounts of potassium, magnesium, and calcium, all of which are important for maintaining overall health but can be harmful if eaten in an unregulated manner.
Since garlic contains low calories and is highly filled with other essential nutrients, it is also worth noting that its consumption does not lead to fat gain.
Consumption of garlic is also known to induce the production of antioxidant enzymes, as garlic itself contains a certain amount of antioxidants, helping it prevent the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
However, eating garlic on a daily basis in unprecedented amounts can also induce pain and discomfort in the lower abdomen.
Garlic supplements have been termed as 'performance-enhancing' food items because they are low in calories and improve the stamina and immunity of our body.
If eaten in high amounts in the diet, the sulfur compounds present in garlic may help protect organs from damage because of heavy metal toxicity by reducing symptoms.
Due to its unique taste and flavor, garlic is one of the easiest and tastiest food items to include in our daily diet, most notably in the form of garlic sauce or the famous ginger-garlic paste used while cooking.
Cooking food in low-fat oils like olive oil or garlic oil, particularly to prepare savory dishes, is also one of the additional benefits of garlic as it is low in cholesterol and fat, high in other vitamins and minerals, and helps in avoiding the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
In addition to its nutritional value, garlic has many beneficial medicinal properties and health benefits, as it has been in use as a form of traditional medicine for a very long time. One of the many benefits of garlic is that it is a natural antibiotic and can help fight off infection. Garlic is also effective at treating colds and other respiratory infections. It can even help to reduce the risk of cancer.
Garlic is a potent source of antioxidants, which help to fight free radicals in the body, which are certain unstable molecules that can cause harm to cells in our body and cause cancers like lung cancer or heart disease.
Garlic has shown an effective capability of reducing inflammation in arteries by preventing plaque buildup.
Active compounds in garlic also reduce high cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure naturally by stopping high pressure against the walls of blood vessels, preventing the risk of hypertension and cholesterol-related ailments.
These benefits of garlic make it an excellent choice for people with heart disease or high blood pressure.
Since garlic supplements boost the internal immunity of our body, they are extremely effective in protecting our body against sicknesses like the common cold and cough.
Dry garlic extract is speculated to have required iron, calcium, and protein which may aid improvement of bone health in females.
Eating garlic without cooking has been found to significantly lower the risk of lung, brain, prostate, and stomach cancer.
In garlic, there is a compound known as Diallyl Sulfide, which has proved to be 100 times more effective than certain antibiotics available on the market.
Garlic has been found to have protective effects against alcohol-induced oxidative stress.
However, garlic may not be good for you in certain ways because it leads to bad breath, gas, even heartburn, and diarrhea.
Garlic is a popular herb around the world, and it has been used in many different cultures for centuries. It is certainly filled with vitamins like vitamin C and helps in preventing bodily problems like high cholesterol, etc. But apart from that, garlic has been a popular occurrence in many folklores across the globe.
Garlic was and even today is attributed folk value in many cultures, both as a food item and a valuable and sacred object.
The Egyptians in ancient times used to believe that garlic was a gift bestowed on them by the gods, and they used it to treat a variety of medical conditions.
In China, garlic was once used as currency.
In ancient Greece, garlic was believed to improve physical strength and stamina for athletes.
It was also thought that eating too much of it could cause impotence in men.
In Europe, garlic was used as a means to ward off evil or white magic because of its reputation as traditional folk medicine and a single cure for multiple diseases and health problems.
In many cultures, it was also considered as protection against vampires and demons and could be hung on windows or worn around the neck to ward them off.
In Korean mythology, it was believed that eating 20 cloves of garlic and Korean Mugwort and nothing else for 100 days straight would result in a bear's transformation into a woman.
Moreover, in the religion of Islam, according to the religious teachings, it is not recommended to eat raw garlic before going to a mosque for worship.
Garlic has been used medicinally throughout history by many cultures around the globe, even today, its benefits are still being explored scientifically.
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