Who doesn’t love garlic in their food? Ok – not everyone. But for those who do, it adds such a unique, strong, and interesting flavor! Does our breath smell bad afterward? Absolutely. Is it worth it? Every time. Not to mention, this incredible food also deters vampires! But how much do you know about this bulb of cloves? Here are some fun facts about garlic!
1. It’s actually an onion.
Garlic, or as it is scientifically known, Allium sativum, belongs to the onion genus! It is a member of the Alliaceae family.
2. We’ve been eating it for centuries.
Putting garlic in everything is by no means a modern culinary tactic. In fact, garlic is believed to be native to Central Asia and we’ve been cultivating it for over 5,000 years! That’s millennia of bad breath – no wonder the breath mint came along so hastily…
3. It’s part of an ancient remedy, too.
Garlic was also commonly used for reasons other than food, even way back! Ancient civilizations, including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, used garlic for various medicinal purposes and believed it had magical and protective properties.
4. About the smell…
No one is denying that garlic has a very strong, distinctive odor. This is primarily due to its sulfur-containing compounds. The sulfur compounds in garlic are released when the garlic cloves are crushed or chopped, leading to its characteristic pungent smell.
5. What is allicin?
Allicin is one of the key bioactive compounds found in garlic. It is responsible for many of garlic’s health benefits and releases when garlic is crushed or chopped.
6. Garlic is really good for you!
Aside from tasting great, garlic is also known for its incredible health benefits! It is believed that garlic boosts immune system reactions, reduces blood pressure, and boasts anti-inflammatory properties. It’s good to munch garlic-rich meals if you’re unwell.
7. Vampires beware!
We all know that garlic has an important place in folklore. Traditionally, garlic was popular for warding off evil spirits and alleged vampires, leading to the use of garlic to protect against bloodsucking demons in various cultures.
8. It’s an energy booster, too!
Believe it or not, garlic was even popular as an energy booster in ancient times! In Ancient Egypt specifically, workers who built the pyramids ate garlic to enhance their strength and endurance. We wouldn’t recommend you gobble down a garlic bulb at the gym, but, hey – the science suggests it’s still healthy to enjoy.
9. What are garlic scapes?
The green shoots that grow from garlic cloves are known as “garlic scapes.” They are edible and have a milder garlic flavor. They are often used in salads and stir-fries – meaning there are hidden parts to this healthy bulb you might not even have been aware of!
10. It’s very nutritious!
Adding garlic to your diet is definitely a good idea! Garlic is rich in minerals and vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and selenium.
FAQs about Garlic
What is the healthiest way of eating garlic?
If you're trying to get all of the health benefits of garlic, some recommend eating it raw with a glass of water! However, considering the fact that that would taste absolutely awful, you can always try to simply add it to your favorite savory recipes. Adding fresh garlic is always best for taste and for nutrition – try adding it to pizza and bolognese, for example.
What happens to your body if you eat garlic every morning?
Some use garlic in the morning as a way of detoxifying the body. However, you do not have to 'detoxify' by eating it raw every morning! Simply adding the bulb to various meals and dishes will be enough for you to benefit from its famous health boosts.
How many garlic cloves should I have per day?
To get the best health benefits from garlic, experts believe you should try and eat at least one to two garlic cloves per day. However, even eating it every now and then can be very beneficial. Start slow if you're new to the idea, or if you really want to keep your bad breath at bay!
Do you know any fun facts about garlic? Share them in the comments section below!