Garlic: How to get the most health out of this kitchen staple


There are few smells that I like as much as the smell of garlic sauteing in my home. Until a few years ago, I would have simply minced up garlic as a recipe called for it and thrown in on the stove right away. I have since learned some of the amazing health benefits of garlic and how to unleash them.

Garlic is known to be one of the best cancer fighting vegetables. You see, garlic has a very high sulfur content. Although this sulfuric property gives garlic a somewhat a bad reputation for the bad breath it can leave you with, it actually is extremely beneficial for your health.

I will try not to get too science-y on you here, but fresh garlic has 2 separate compounds held within it- allinase and alliin. These two bioactive components in garlic combine (only when crushed or chopped) to form the sulfuric compound, Allicin. Allicin is a very powerful compound known to both help fight and prevent numerous types of cancer (such as breast, colon, esophageal, stomach, and pancreatic to name a few). Amazing, right?

The point? Garlic is good for much more than just adding flavor to a dish or aroma to a home. So what’s the problem? Most dishes that call for garlic ask you to heat it by baking, sauteing, etc. Forming allicin takes a few minutes after crushing it, and heat can actually stop this process leaving you with the same garlic flavor but without the amazing health benefit.

The solution: it’s simple. The next time you are cooking a dish that calls for garlic, chop the garlic first and let it sit for about 5 -10 minutes. This will give the garlic enough time to sit and do it’s amazing cancer-fighting stuff (to put it in non-scientific terms).

And to celebrate this cancer fighting vegetable, I want to include one of my very favorite family recipes- Creamy Spaghetti Marinara.

There are no exacts (my mom is one of those- “I just throw things together as I think they will taste good and it always turns out perfect” kind of cooks). So feel free to tweak the recipe as desired.

Creamy Spaghetti Marinara

  • ½ lb lean ground beef (I prefer the organic grass fed kind)
  • 32 oz crushed tomato
  • 1 small can Cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Chop the garlic and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.

2. Saute onions & garlic with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Brown the ground beef in the onion/garlic mixture.

3. Add the cream of mushroom soup first and then the crushed tomatoes.

4. Let simmer until cooked thoroughly. Serve over pasta of choice.

It’s as easy as that but has great taste. This recipe comes highly recommended from the Oliver/Poage family and now every time I make it I purpose to chop the garlic first. Enjoy!!


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