Food / Health / Spain

GARLIC IS GOOD FOR YOU

ajoOne morning several years ago I was sitting at a table in the shade outside a restaurant in the village where I live. It happens I was rubbing a clove of garlic on a piece of warm toast, after that, good extra virgin olive oil and then tomato (whirred, scraped, thinly sliced, whatever). At that moment a tourist family came past, evidently Brits (they were in shorts and floppy hats, we were in sweaters and jeans, it being early Spring). The last in the family line, a spotty youth soon to be the victim of sunburn and not realising that I speak English, exclaimed, “Look at that! Yuuuck!” pointing at me. Smiling parents and siblings.

When they returned a short time later I was still having breakfast. I smiled pleasantly at them and, staring at the youth, said, “It was garlic and olive oil. Good for you!” He went the colour of his spots and moved on swiftly. And that is what inspired this article that many years ago, which is now being dusted and re-written for GOFs.

Aside from its ability to bring good luck, protect against evil and ward off vampires, there are other benefits to this marvel of Spanish cuisine, sometimes known as ‘the stinking rose’ thanks to its therapeutic value. There is hardly a dish available in Spain that doesn’t contain it in one form or another.

Just in case we’ve forgotten, here is a short list of some of its benefits:

  • Provides Vitamins B6 and C
  • Lowers blood pressure and LDL cholesterol (the bad one)
  • Increases HDL cholesterol (good)
  • Helps prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease
  • Reduces risk of heart disease and strokes
  • Inhibits coronary calcification.

Any wonder why the famous Mediterranean Diet works? Or is that just another good reason to live here?

There’s a lot more, from beauty tips to cancer prevention and, yes, as an aphrodisiac: Readers Digest online; Huffington Post; NHS Superfoods. Oh, and How to get the smell off your hands (I just run my hands under the tap without rubbing them together, it works!) or How to get the smell off your breath. My own method for this last is to remove the middle part of the clove first (it works!); as follows:

1. Peel it (I crush it lightly with the blade of a knife)

2. Cut it lengthways and remove the centre on both sides. It comes out easily with a pointy knife. Discard centre.

2. Cut it lengthways and remove the centre on both sides. It comes out easily with a pointy knife. Discard centre.

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