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    Archive for the ‘garlic’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Garlic Powder

    320620bAre the health benefits associated with cooking with fresh garlic the same as when substituting garlic powder?

    — Guy Betterbid
    New York, NY

    Garlic powder offers some, but not all, of the health benefits associated with fresh garlic.

    A lot of garlic’s healthful properties come from its plentiful (and aromatic, to say the least) sulfur-containing compounds, many of which are lost when garlic is processed into powder.

    Two more important tidbits about garlic and health:

    1. Elephant garlic offers significantly lower levels of these sulfur-containing compounds
    2. Garlic cloves with green centers have also lost a good portion of their healthful properties (even more so if the actual bulb is sprouting those green shoots!)
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    Quick & Healthy Recipe: Spicy & Decadent Satay Marinade

    peanut-sauce-lrgThis delicious Thai-inspired marinade is extremely easy to make and imparts wonderful flavors.

    Although traditionally paired with chicken, I have only had this marinade with tofu and tempeh, where it works wonderfully!

    Don’t let the long ingredient list dissuade you — preparation is super quick.

    YIELDS: 1 cup (4 servings)

    INGREDIENTS:

    2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    1 Tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
    1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons nut butter (peanut, almond, or cashew; natural and unsalted recommended)
    2 Tablespoons canned coconut milk
    2 medium garlic cloves
    1 Tablespoon dried ginger
    2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
    2 teaspoons Thai chili peppers, chopped
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/4 cup basil leaves
    2 teaspoons chili powder OR cayenne pepper
    1/4 teaspoon cumin
    2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
    2 Tablespoons lime juice
    1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    5 teaspoons water

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until evenly combined.

    To get optimal flavors, marinade food for at least 4 hours, covered, in refrigerator.

    NUTRITION INFORMATION (per serving):

    198 calories
    5 grams saturated fat (see note, below)
    300 milligrams sodium
    2 grams added sugar

    Excellent Source of: Manganese, monounsaturated fat, niacin

    Good Source of: Magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin E

    NOTE: The saturated fats in this recipe come exclusively from the nut butter and coconut milk. Coconuts’ saturated fat is less atherogenic than that of full-fat dairy. Additionally, if using peanut or almond butter, their saturated fats are packaged along with extremely heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Health Benefits of Garlic

    garlic_bulbWhat health benefits do we get from eating garlic?

    Is it better to eat it raw (like in the pesto recipe you shared) or cook it?

    Do you need a certain amount of cloves to get the health benefits?

    — Whitney Bennett
    New York, NY

    The most solid evidence on daily and consistent garlic consumption is that it can:

    • Help reduce levels of LDL (“bad”) and total cholesterol
    • Slow down atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
    • Discourage platelet aggregation (the grouping of platelets in the blood which ultimately forms clots)

    There doesn’t appear to be a difference whether garlic is consumed in a raw or cooked state.  For optimal results in terms of active compounds, though, fresh garlic should always be used (as opposed to pre-minced, jarred varieties).

    One garlic clove a day, once a day, provides the above-mentioned health benefits. An additional clove or two won’t pose any harm.

    I am not a fan of garlic supplements.  Firstly, since supplements are unregulated, you never know what you are truly getting.

    Number two — in the event that these supplements pack in high amounts of concentrated garlic, they may overly thin the blood.

    PS: If you take garlic supplements, you must stop taking them at least three weeks prior to any kind of surgery to prevent excessive bleeding.

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    Crush Now, Cook Later

    It is no surprise that garlic contains a wide variety of beneficial enzymes and compounds.

    Did you know, though, that you are cheating yourself out of these if you throw freshly chopped garlic into a stir fry?

    A study conducted by Claudio Galmarini and colleagues in Argentina and the United States (published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry last year) looked into alliinase, an enzyme in garlic that “catalyzes the formation of allicin, which then breaks down to form a variety of healthful organosulfur compounds.”

    Allicin, by the way, has been linked to decreased rates of both stomach and colon cancer.

    Here’s the catch — heat renders alliinase useless.

    That doesn’t, however, necessarily mean raw garlic is the only way to capture all the health benefits.

    Galmarini and his team found that “allowing crushed garlic to stand for 10 minutes before cooking may further enhance formation of [allicin] before heat inactivates alliinase.”

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