For thousands of years, people all over the world have hailed garlic as an elixir of health. Its cloves are said to help treat the common cold, keep the plague at bay, and even ward off vampires. Despite its notorious odor, this veggie is the bulb of a plant in the sweet-smelling lily family. Ancient writings show that garlic was used as an aphrodisiac in India and as currency in Egypt.
It’s a low-cal immunity-boosting superstar at just 4 calories per clove. One clove contains 5 mg of calcium, 12 mg of potassium, and more than 100 sulfuric compounds — powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and infection (it was used to prevent gangrene in both world wars). Raw garlic, not cooked or dried, is most beneficial for health, since heat and water inactivate sulfur enzymes, which can diminish garlic’s antibiotic effects. In clinical trials, the toxin-fighting staple seems to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and kill parasites in the body.
Other Immunity Boosters
Sulfuric compounds are also in brussels sprouts, cabbage, chives, kale, leeks, onions, and shallots.
I love cooking with garlic and here is an easy recipe that provides two different ways to use garlic.
Roasted Garlic and Garlic Oil
Makes 2 2/3 cups garlic oil and 2/3 cup garlic mash
4 large heads garlic
3 cups olive oil
4 sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
Use garlic mash in soups, stews, egg dishes, or pizza. Spread on baguette slices for garlic bruschetta, and on grilled chicken or roasted meats. You can substitute garlic oil, which has a subtle hint of garlic plus rosemary or thyme, in any dish that calls for olive oil. You can also use garlic oil to roast tomatoes, drizzle on grilled vegetables, or moisten cooked pasta.
Per serving (1 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic mash): 45 calories, 0.2 g protein, 1 g carbohydrate, 4.5 g fat, 0.6 g saturated fat, 3.3 g monounsaturated fat, 0.4 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 0.5 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 90%.