A super food, a very popular spice and a protector against vampires, garlic has it all. Jamaicans put it in about every dish we can, and for good reason, too. Besides being an amazing spice with amazing flavour, garlic also has numerous health benefits. But first, some history. This little guy is a member of the genus Alliumand its proper name aka scientific name is Allium sativum. Its cousins include shallots, leeks, chives and that oh so lovely one that is just obsessed with making people cry, the onion. Garlic hails from Central Asia and north eastern Iran and should definitely have some serious mile points because that bulb is e-ver-y-where.
When we’re talking health benefits, garlic really brings new meaning to the phrase “small but mighty.” It has few calories, and contains minerals and vitamins such as manganese, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium, fibre, calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. Garlic also has something called allicin, which is this amazing, magical – nope – very real compound that arises when the garlic senses that it’s being attacked, i.e., being crushed or chopped. It provides antioxidant benefits and practically all the good stuff about garlic.
Some popular uses for this small but mighty bulb are fighting and preventing the common cold, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, killing intestinal parasites like hookworm and pinworm, treating food poisoning and many more.
Of course, it is important to note that scientific research is still needed to establish of some of these claims. So if you are suffering from any illnesses or diseases it is important to go a see a doctor. Still, garlic adds great flavour, so use it in your food for that and any benefits it may bring. Garlic may not actually protect you from vampires, but it may help with that cold you have.