You’ve probably heard the term “superfood”, or have seen the buzzword circulate around the web, but what exactly makes any food or ingredient so super?
The answer is simple: a superfood is a food item or ingredient that contains a high density concentration of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, healthy fats or enzymes.
The list of superfoods is extensive and growing, with some of the most common being kale, quinoa, flax seed, chia seed, hemp seed, salmon, turmeric, coconut oil, cocoa, sweet potatoes and eggs. These are all quite simple to incorporate into a daily diet, and can be enhanced with complimentary and flavor-enhancing superfood ingredients, such as garlic.
Garlic is generally thought of as a seasoning, but it is actually considered a vegetable because it has both a bulb and leaves. It is a close relative to the onion, shallot, chive and leek and is native to central Asia. There are many active compounds in garlic that have been researched and deemed helpful in combating heart disease, colds and some infections, controlling blood pressure, improving hair loss issues, and aiding in the treatment of diabetes. Because the microbial properties in raw garlic are so strong, adding crushed, sliced or chopped cloves into cooking recipes is a great way to include its benefits without eating an overly pungent dose of its cloves alone. And, in moderation, consuming garlic is a great way to increase your daily intake of the antioxidant, Allicin, which helps kill bacteria, aid in a strong immune system, increase the health of hair and skin, and aid in lowering cholesterol levels.
Like many superfood ingredients, for
those taking medication, it is wise to know how to use them safely and effectively. Garlic is known to be high in organosulfur compounds, which act as anti-clotting agents. For that reason, it may increase the effect of blood thinning medications, and could increase the risk of bleeding, so should be used sparingly and in accordance to your doctor’s advice when consumed with them.
Ultimately, garlic is a superfood ingredient that is typically masked as a simple seasoning, that offers much more than just flavor. Try this simple and flavor rich garlic recipe that is perfect alone or paired with a lean protein of your choice (such as wild caught fish or chicken):
(Click here for my recipe, published at True Food Kitchen)