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Garlic is an extremely popular spice in India and can be found in all of its many cuisines and regions. The plant is relatively easy to cultivate, can be produced through the year and in large numbers. But truthfully, garlic is such a staple to grow because it is used in everyday cuisine. The flavour is incredibly unique and can add a whole new dimension to the taste of a dish.
Garlic actually belongs to the onion family and is closely related to the onion. Both ingredients are native to Indian cuisine and go hand in hand in the making of a dish. You know how it goes: ‘Lets the onions become translucent, then add the garlic and green chillies...’ This is the basis of many Indian dishes and the idea has long been entrenched in the culinary world. The members of the onion family are a valued addition.
Garlic has a long and impressive history that spans the world. It has been used for thousands of years - some say as long ago as 7000 years - and is a native Asian plant and is one of Asia’s major contributions to the world. But we know that garlic is popular in other cuisines as well, especially Mediterranean cuisine, as well African and European food. In fact, a special species of garlic is grown in Europe, with its own uniqueness. America sees a wide variety of garlic grown. All of these variants are believed to have derived from a single progenitor that is believed to have been of Central Asian origin.
Today, China is by far the largest exporter of garlic, producing a staggering 20 million tonnes of the plant. To give you some perspective, India, which is the second largest producer, produces a mere 1.5 million tonnes.
The Benefits of Garlic
Garlic has been praised endlessly for its impact on the body. And what an impact! The plant has so many different effects on a variety of systems and a small helping of it is all that is required to extract these effects. We can’t stress enough how easy it is to improve your general health with a little garlic. The fact that it is so makes it an unavoidable inclusion in your diet.
No, there’s no cure for the common cold. There are however effective substances that ease the distress and keep it under cold. Garlic is one of these. Studies have been conducted to better understand its efficiency against the cold and one such study returned a 63% reduction in the number of common colds in the test group. It is believed that this happens because garlic boosts the immune system of the body.
That’s a big claim, but garlic does it. It lowers the ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body, the kind that gives you a heart attack. The reduction is stated as 10-15%, which is quite a significant drop. Garlic does not seem to affect the ‘good’ cholesterol in the body.
Another major benefit, garlic has the ability to rein in high blood pressure, which is a major cause of deaths around the world, being directly linked to strokes and heart attacks. The recommended intake for this benefit is about four cloves a day, but that beats medication.
Garlic is rich in minerals like zinc and manganese and minerals like vitamin C. All of these are necessary for healthy and strong bones. A test was conducted with lab rats and those that were given garlic oil showed better bone health.
All neurodegenerative diseases are tough to combat and alzheimer’s in particular because the origins of the disease are still unknown to us. Garlic’s antioxidant richness is believed to be the reason why it seems to keep these diseases at bay.
These are just some of the benefits of garlic. Start eating more today!
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