Man walks in house: “Mmmm, what’s that smelling so delicious?”
Generally, the only veggies that get this reaction are sautéing onions and/or garlic. You can’t beat the aroma of fresh garlic wafting through the house. (My husband would probably say a savory roast or spicy taco meat might beat it, but we’re talking vegetables here!) Cutting onions may make you cry, but they certainly make the meal once cooked. How many recipes do you have that include onions? Garlic? They are prolific! (top photo source)
Beyond the bazillions uses for these veggies, in almost every genre of cooking and at every meal, garlic and onions have some incredible health benefits that will get you jumping up and down every time you buy a bag, and maybe even convince you to include them in more meals than you do now. They’re on the list of Super Foods for a reason.
Garlic will give you the following nutritional and health benefits:
- Vitamin C, B6 and selenium
- Improves immune function
- Thins blood (to control blood pressure)
- Increases anti-oxidants/fights free radicals in blood
Fight these diseases and issues with garlic:
- Colds, flu, stomach viruses (see this soup for a great idea!)
- Infections, including yeast infections
- Can even kill some strains of bacteria (staph) that have become resistant to antibiotic drugs! (see this post for more on bacterial resistance and soaps)
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High triglycerides
- Increase unborn babies’ weight gain
- Helps prevent lots of kinds of cancers
- Removes heavy metals from system
- Prevent weight gain
- Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
How to Prepare Garlic for Greatest Benefits
The compounds of garlic that fight infection are released when garlic is chopped or crushed. BEST practice is to crush 7-14 minutes before eating. If you have to crush it right into the pan, though, that’s better than not eating it! Garlic cooked whole (like I used to do in my stocks) has none of the medicinal value. Also best practice to add garlic near the end of sautéing so it doesn’t get cooked very long. Raw garlic has the most benefits. Dehydrated and powdered garlic don’t have near as many (if any) of these nutritious elements.
Note: Garlic AND onions also help when grilling meat. Research shows that grilled meats have carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals, and these veggies can reduce them.
There are fascinating tips for emergency medicinal uses of garlic here.
Onions will give you the following nutritional and health benefits:
- Prevents constipation
- Increases blood circulation
- Rich in chromium, Vitamin C
Fight these diseases and issues with onions:
- Prevents cancers
- Fights infections, colds, fevers
- Heart health
- May lower blood pressure and triglycerides
- Improves gastrointestinal health
The Best Onions…
Western Yellow, New York Bold, and Northern Red onions have the highest amount of healthy compounds to give you all the benefits listed above. In general, the stronger the onion, the healthier. More tears when cutting equals more protection against disease and infection. Also, the best benefits are received when onions are eaten raw. You just have to get the good information past the bad breath!
This week’s Super Foods also include peppers, since many dishes can include all three: garlic, onions and peppers. Since garlic and onions share so many qualities, however, peppers will get their own Food for Thought.
Click here for the related Monday Mission.
Other Super Food Health Benefits:
Mind the Microwave in May: