Make Room for Garlic in Your Healthy Balanced Meals ~ From ancient times to modern days, from Asia to Europe to North America, garlic has been worshiped, adored and praised. The many medicinal benefits of eating garlic are well documented throughout history. Adding it to your healthy balanced meals is easy and might be one of the best food choices that you ever make.
Why would I add garlic to my healthy balanced meal?
Garlic has many medicinal properties that are worth mentioning.
• It is known to fight off infection and can kill a number of bacterial strains including Salmonella.
• The antioxidants in it can help to protect body cells against degeneration.
• It is believed to ward off cancer.
• It protects against common illnesses such as the common cold and the flu.
• It stimulates metabolism and helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
These are just some of the benefit. There are many more and each one is a good reason to add garlic to your healthy balanced meals.
How can I add garlic to my healthy balanced meals?
Garlic comes in many forms which include raw cloves, powder and salt, freeze dried and in tablets. It can be eaten raw, steamed, fried, roasted and pickled. Whether it is combined in foods, made into salad dressings, marinades and sauces or eaten as cloves, garlic makes food tasty and enjoyable.
If you are not sure how you best like garlic, try a little test. Mince, dice or press garlic into a container. Take a little taste of it raw. It will have a strong zesty taste on its own. When it is mixed with other raw ingredients it is more balanced. Take the rest of the garlic and gently cook it in olive oil. This will taste milder but distinctively different. There is a place for both raw and cooked garlic in healthy balanced meals.
The recommended amount of garlic that you add to you healthy balanced meals can range from three cloves a week to one clove a day. It is not necessary to include it in every meal or even every day. There is no set rule. The main idea is to make sure that you are getting some fresh garlic.
If you are concerned about the smell of garlic, eating some parsley will help to take the smell away.
Allicin is released in garlic when it is minced or crushed. As it is cooked the allicin is destroyed. To gain the full benefits of garlic, use it raw whenever you can. When cooking garlic cook it gently and lightly. This will help to retain the healing properties.
Eight Ways to Include Garlic into Your everyday Meals
Soups, pickled, roasted, and garlic bread are some of the more common foods that you will find it in. When you start adding garlic to your healthy balanced meals, you will probably be surprised at the number of dishes that you will find it in. I have even seen garlic and tomato pizzas. The following ideas will help you to expand your choices of foods with garlic.
1) Added to Salad Dressings
Garlic is great in salad dressings. Considering mixing your own salad dressing by using a combination of herbs and spices, freshly squeezed citrus juice, apple cider vinegar and heart healthy oil (extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil). Experiment with spice and herb combination’s. Mix the garlic with cayenne pepper; try garlic with cilantro; or maybe add basil to garlic. There is no right or wrong, there is only what you enjoy.
2) Make a Cream Cheese Spread
Cream cheese is already available in a variety of flavours and styles but you can easily make your own. Try adding a minced clove or two of garlic, and some basil or rosemary to plain cream cheese. Yes, it would be easy to go out and buy the premixed cream cheese containing garlic. However, mixing your own cream cheese spread ensures that you have fresh garlic and all health benefits that come along with it. Serve your delicious home-made garlic cream cheese on rice cakes, sesame crackers, celery stalks and bagels. You might even try your cream cheese spread on baked potatoes.
3) In Dipping Sauces
Dipping sauces are as easy to make as cream cheese spreads. Just like garlic flavoured cream cheese, they are available as processed foods but making them at home ensures the benefits of the freshly minced garlic. To make a dipping sauce, pick your main ingredient (yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise) add your minced garlic, seasonings and favourite herbs and spices. Dipping sauces are great with vegetable platters, corn chips and pita chips.
The nice thing about making dipping sauces at home is the opportunity to add the spices and herbs that you like most. You can also control the intensity of the flavour.
Aioli is the traditional garlic mayonnaise sauce from Provence in France. It is a zesty sauce made with garlic, olive oil, Dijon mustard, eggs and lemon juice. It is lovely served with vegetables, fish and seafood and adds variety to your healthy balanced meals.
Marinades can be acidic, salty or savoury and are used to soften food and add flavour. Garlic works well in all three types of marinade. As you mix your marinade, add fresh minced garlic to expand on the flavour. The amount of garlic that you add will depend on the intensity of the garlic that you want. Add the marinade to your food and enjoy the taste of fresh garlic.
There are many types of sauces and garlic goes well in most of them. Tomato sauces for pasta, cheese sauces for vegetables, white wine sauces or gravies to drizzle on meat, cream sauces for vegetables and seafood are all enhanced with added garlic.
Garlic sauces can be as simple as minced garlic cooked in butter for shrimp, backed potatoes or fish. Fresh garlic and healthy extra virgin olive oil or sunflower seed oil adds a pleasant surprise when spooned on pasta, beans, boiled eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers or avocados.
If you are adding sauces to your vegetables, meat, fish, shrimp or pasta, add a little garlic and enjoy the great flavour.
7) Hummus or Guacamole
Hummus, made from chick peas and guacamole, made from avocados are best when fresh garlic is added. These zesty foods are wonderful as snacks, appetizers and as a part of a main healthy balanced meal. The garlic in these foods provides a wonderful flavour contrast to the breads and chips that they are often served with.
8) Salsa and Pesto
Salsa and pesto are always made to taste so these are great foods to experiment with added garlic. Add a little minced garlic at a time until you reach your own level of garlic intensity. Salsa and pesto are nice added to pasta, or served with chips, meats and fish. They can be served with boiled eggs and sides for vegetables. Similar to dips and sauces, as you experiment with salsa and pesto, you will find the combination of herbs, spices and garlic that you enjoy.
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