Updated: Jan 28
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a superfood. Raw white garlic is commonly found in local shops and supermarkets but many places, especially food markets and butchers, now also sell black garlic (Allium nigrum). It is typically planted and harvested in winter months and can be traced back to the Predynastic period in Ancient Egypt (5500-3100BC) in tombs such as those within Tutankhamen's pyramid where it was used medicinally and to preserve human remains (1). According to Nicholson & Shaw (2000) (2) 'large scale cultivation of garlic...was introduced to Egypt by the Greeks in the third century BC'.
A true superfood
It is a prebiotic (it feeds the microbes within our colons which have the enormous responsibility of dealing with whatever we decide to eat or drink) and can combat: cancer, heart disease, hypertension/high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, strokes, atherosclerosis, chronic inflammation and many other illnesses and ailments (3). Furthermore, regular consumption transforms gut health and body composition (4) as well as increases magnesium and calcium absorption due to its inulin and oligofructose content.
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As previously mentioned, garlic has been at the forefront of natural medicinal practices for centuries, predominantly because it contains allicin (also present in onions) which can reduce inflammation, clean up the gut, increase energy levels, regulate blood sugar and pressure, bolster the digestive system, stimulate metabolism and heal wounds (5). Nowadays, a lot of people avoid garlic due to its overpowering smell, flavour and reputation during social situations even though it is actually an aphrodisiac (6). Additionally, regular garlic consumption should advance ones fitness level (7). When coaching a client for his first boxing fight, he suffered badly from asthma. After advising him to eat garlic everyday his asthma almost disappeared and he lost more than 2 stone of body fat without sacrificing any lean muscle mass or muscular strength.
Garlic extracts and aged black garlic have been used in studies to discover their unique properties and benefits as well as compare them to see which one is best for a specific treatment or occasion. Garlic appears to contribute strongly to the treatment of life threatening diseases. It may also prevent the diseases from developing in the first place. Patients suffering from cancer are recommended to take garlic in supplement form. In addition, garlic extract has been shown to amplify the effect of anti-cancer drugs (8).
Black garlic is the result of controlled fermentation (9). Consequently it is rich in antioxidants and low in sugar, protein and sulfur (responsible for 'bad' breath) (10). Raw, aged black garlic (polyphenol numbers decrease when garlic is subjected to heat) most likely contains the most polyphenols and flavanoids which balance the body (11).
Heart disease risk goes up when blood vessels become narrower (12). Garlic can prevent this and other conditions such as diabetes from occurring by effectively clearing dangerous fats and sugars from the bloodstream (13).
per 100g, raw (we do not advise eating 100g of raw garlic in one go)
Calories - 149Kcal
Total Fat - 0.5g
Total Carbohydrate - 33.1g
Sugar - 1g
Fibre - 2.1g
Protein - 6.4g
Manganese - 84%
Vitamin B6 - 62%
Vitamin C - 52%
Selenium - 20%
Ensure you understand how to make all of the options listed below for cold weather, cold symptoms or general health and fitness.
- Raw garlic to add to slow cooked bone broth (more than 10 whole garlic cloves)
- Raw garlic to add to at least one meal a day (if cooking meat, it will reduce the amount of carcinogens in it) (14)
N.B. Wait for 5-10 mins after slicing or crushing garlic before cooking to allow allicin to form.
- Easy pickled garlic formula (If the idea of a raw garlic clove intimidates you). Cooking slightly lowers inulin content but most is preserved.
1. Place the equivalent of 3 entire garlic bulbs (cloves separated but skins intact) into boiling water for 60s before removing the skins
2. Sterilise a 500ml kilner jar before adding 1 dried chilli or ½ tsp chilli flakes, 3 all spice berries or ½ tsp ground all spice, 1 tsp himalayan/cornish sea salt, 1 tsp mustard seeds and 1 sprig of fresh basil
3. Add the skinless garlic cloves to the jar
4. Boil 700ml of cider, red or white wine vinegar before adding to the jar
5. Seal the jar and store in a cupboard of pantry to cool down for around 12 hours before placing into the fridge
(1) Nicholson, PT & Shaw, I 2000, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology p.431, Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom, ISBN 0-521-45257-0
(2) Nicholson, PT & Shaw, I 2000, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology p.431, Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom, ISBN 0-521-45257-0
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Co-founder of 'The Evolved Way', and experienced personal trainer, Samson practices what he preaches. His own healthy lifestyle, which informs this site, is based on understanding the right way to eat and exercise, not excluding of course going out and enjoying life knowing you can still feel and look good.
John Maitland is the co-founder of 'The Evolved Way.’ A personal trainer with over 10 years’ experience, he has worked alongside a wide range of leading CEOs, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. John is a keen athlete and holds a black belt in Shaolin Kung fu. A fan of the great outdoors, he can often be found exploring the British countryside and mountains...or breaking pine boards with his fingers.