For thousands of years garlic has been popular in many cultures thanks to its medicinal properties, and nowadays it is almost indispensable spice in a variety of dishes. It was used as an effective tool to increase strength and endurance while during the 19th century it played a key role in studies led by Louis Pasteur. Garlic also had a huge role during the WW I and WW II when physicians used it to disinfect and heal wounds. It is a close relative to red onion and other plants (species) from the onion genus Allium. The plant has a very distinct smell, but the bulb of garlic contains all the flavors and precious nutrients. A majority of these healing properties of garlic come from more than one hundred sulfur compounds, of which allyl is the most important one that turns into allicin (a sulfur compound) by crushing or chewing garlic bulb.
Garlic is a one-year plant which can grow up to one meter in height. It blooms in August and it is harvested in September. The most valuable part of the plant is the bulb and serves a myriad of purposes, but it is mostly recognized as a powerful tool in treating cardiovascular and related diseases, thus, it is used in the treatment of atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, hypertension etc. Some recent studies suggest it kills cancer cells too. It is also effective in the prevention of malignant diseases of the digestion system. For instance, it reduces the production of nitrites responsible for stomach cancer. Moreover, garlic is a potent fighter against infectious diseases, viruses, fungi, and bacteria due to allicin that inhibits enzymes which microorganisms use to damage tissues. Being an effective antimicrobial tool, garlic is perfect for destroying fungi responsible for athlete’s foot and swimmer’s ear.
As a proposition for a meal here is a delicious and healthy recipe you can try out. It is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 middle-sized zucchini
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 3 teaspoons of tomato extract
- fresh basil
- 500 g of spaghetti
Peel the garlic, slice it finely and fry it in oil a little bit. Wash the peppers, remove the seeds and then slice them into strips, put into a pot and fry it in oil for a while. Wash the zucchini, cut them in cubes and put into a pot. Add garlic and fry until all the liquid evaporates.
Make sure your vegetables is not overcooked in order to preserve as much as vitamins and minerals as possible. Cook spaghetti ‘al dente’ and mix everything. Sprinkle the mixture with some fresh basil, serve this marvelous dish and enjoy!
Translation: G. Dujmović