Garlic: An Immunity-Boosting Superstar
A longtime kitchen staple, garlic doesn't just add flavor to most recipes, it's also good for you.
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
Today, at just 4 calories per clove, it's a low-cal immunity-boosting
superstar. 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.
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
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Break the garlic heads into quarters with skins intact. Do not peel the
- Place quarters in a small ovenproof casserole dish. Pour olive oil over
garlic to cover. Add herbs and pepper. Cover.
- Bake slowly for about one hour until the cloves are soft.
- Cool. Strain the garlic oil into a bottle and store at room
- Squeeze the garlic from the skins and mash. Place in an airtight container
and refrigerate for up to three weeks.
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%.
Originally published in the September/October 2007 issue of WebMD the