Nutrition Articles

Garlic: The Big Flavor with Benefits

Behind Garlic's Bold Taste is a Healthy Nutritional Profile

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Garlic can be eaten raw or cooked. Cooking tempers the flavor (and lessens garlic breath). To prepare garlic for cooking, remove the papery skin and the hard root end from each clove, then chop according to recipe directions. (Some research has shown that cutting or crushing garlic activates its enzymes and that it's beneficial to wait five minutes before continuing with the recipe.) You can infuse olive oil with garlic by simmering a half cup of oil in a saucepan with 2-3 chopped garlic cloves. Garlic can be roasted, which creates a soft, caramelized texture and sweet, rich flavor.

Note: Garlic is also sold in powdered or granulated form, which is appropriate for use in recipes like dressings, sauces or dips. Garlic powder is not a good substitute in recipes that call for sautéing or cooking fresh garlic. Granulated garlic, garlic powder and garlic salt are three different ingredients and shouldn't be used interchangeably, so pay attention to your recipe. Avoid garlic salt if you're watching your sodium levels.

Healthy Recipes that Feature Garlic
Chef Meg's Favorite Ginger-Garlic Sauce
This versatile recipe can be used to add bold flavor as a marinade or sauce for grilled meats or vegetables.
Low-Fat Slow-Cooker Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Perfect for a crowd, this recipe can be made ahead for family gatherings.

Chef Meg's Grilled Citrus Garlic Flank Steak
Garlic adds a ton of flavor to this healthy, lean cut of beef.
Chef Meg's Herb-Roasted Garlic
Sweet, softened roasted garlic is terrific on toasted bread slices, or in soups and stews.

So, what are you waiting for? Start adding more garlic to your meals--the flavor and health benefits will be worth the garlic breath!

National Institutes of Health. ''Garlic,'' accessed July 2012.
The World's Healthiest Foods. ''Garlic,'' accessed July 2012.

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About The Author

Bryn Mooth Bryn Mooth
Bryn Mooth is an independent copywriter and journalist focused on food, wellness and design; she's also a Master Gardener and enthusiastic green thumb. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog

Member Comments

  • I really do not care for garlic and I also am allergic to it. I recall a woman from Italy saying on TV that real Italians do not use garlic in cooking. This was born out one time when at a place I worked for we went to a local Italian cultural center (Santa Maria Goretti). I really was NOT looking forward to it as I had wild thoughts out everything having garlic in it. It DIDN'T. What was odd was even the SALAD had spaghetti in it! - 3/4/2015 7:07:28 PM
  • I like garlic & usually use the minced garlic in a jar.
    I was a little disappointed that the article didn't mention this form. - 9/24/2014 9:28:04 PM
  • Garlic is a food I cook with every day! - 11/15/2013 10:48:07 AM
  • a bulb of garlic a day, keeps not just the dr. away, but everyone else too.. so no germs! - 10/26/2013 3:40:18 AM
  • I love garlic. My hubby and I but my son don't like it. He say we have eaten so much that it coming out our pores. - 6/13/2013 3:32:56 PM
    A day without garlic is like a day without sunshine---- love it! lol

    I buy the minced garlic in a jar and it seems to keep in the refrigerator (forever).
    - 4/8/2013 12:55:46 PM
    I love garlic but then the smell comes out all my pores and mouth the next day. Is there someway to neutralize that effect? - 4/8/2013 9:54:32 AM
  • When I cook any starchy food, which right now is mostly brown rice, I put a clove or two of garlic in. I'm getting better about remembering to take them out before serving, too! LOL I bought a big pack of garlic at half price and though it's already starting to sprout, I just break the sprout off and use it. I could probably just as well leave the sprout on - I used to see wild garlic greens available at the farmer's market. Most garlic is from China, which I don't like, so I am working on planting some of my sprouted garlic and growing my own in my apartment window. - 4/8/2013 7:36:02 AM
  • We LOVE garlic! Broccoli aglio olio...yum!

    Had shrimp scampi tonight... - 4/7/2013 12:15:39 AM
  • And don't forget - Garlic keeps vampires away :D Always a healthy thing.

    Okay - just teasing - but I use garlic in almost every meal. We eat a lot of tofu dishes and garlic is essential to give it flavor. - 4/6/2013 7:03:53 AM
  • I take garlic tablets now and then because of their health benefits, I cannot take them for too long or I start smelling. (laughing) We love sauteing garlic with veggies for a stir fry.
    - 4/6/2013 6:27:41 AM
  • great article! i roast 4-6 lg heads of garlic per month at a time, store in fridge to use in cooking as needed. olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes or rosemary in a foil covered shallow pan. 200c for 45 min.
    i use it in almost everything. love it!!! i serve it as a spread for fresh baked bread instead of butter with an italian meal and my family goes crazy for it. - 4/6/2013 3:34:22 AM
  • I cannot eat garlic either. So whether its good for me or not is (unfortunately) NOT relevant. Still an interesting article. - 1/3/2013 12:59:30 PM
  • In regards to discarding sprouting garlic.... I just stick it in the garden. Some grows, and probably some doesn't. We have garlic growing in little corners everywhere around the house. When the blossoms start to dry out, dig them out, let them dry slightly outside (I leave 3 -6 days), cut the stalk and store. We haven't purchased garlic for years.

    When you pull the garlic out of the soil, little hard "bulbets" stay in the soil and grow into new plants. Easy, peasey. - 12/2/2012 9:46:11 PM
  • We love and use garlic in most of our food. Depending on what it goes in, I either use a garlic press or crush the cloves with the flat side of my chefs knife and then roughly chop it. - 12/2/2012 2:26:15 PM

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