A Side Dish Your Heart and Tastebuds Will Love

Considered a medicinal food for centuries, garlic is not only packed with immune-boosting, heart-protecting, detoxifying, and healing properties, but it makes any dish twice as delicious. Add some garlic to broccoli for a perfect side to any entree.

7 minute read

Last Updated July 14, 2020

Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic - Men’s Health - 1MD

Add a delicious and healthy side to your meal with caramelized broccoli. Broccoli alone offers a host of health benefits, but when added with garlic, these benefits double. 

Garlic has been considered a medicinal food for centuries. Hippocrates, the “father of Western medicine,” considered garlic to be an ultimate source of natural healing. Adding garlic to your broccoli is sure to provide a mouthful of great taste and health-boosting properties every time.

Adding Garlic to Boost Your Health

Garlic is a potent and flavorful addition to any dish. It has also been well documented that ancient civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, used garlic to treat numerous health conditions. 

Besides adding flavor and a mouth-watering aroma, garlic is full of beneficial nutrients to boost your health.

Stronger Immune System

Garlic has been found to reduce the risk of catching colds, through supporting and strengthening the immune system. The average length of a cold and the severity of symptoms are also reduced when garlic is taken. 

Garlic contains vitamin C and potassium, which effectively fight bacteria and infections. The anti-inflammatory effects of garlic can also reduce the risk of certain cancers. Inflammation is linked to several chronic diseases that garlic can help to protect you from. 

Cognitive Benefits

Oxidative damage from free radicals, along with inflammation, is a factor known to increase the risk of dementia. Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, have been linked to chronic inflammation and oxidative damage of brain cells. 

Garlic contains powerful antioxidant compounds that prevent free radical activity and reduce nervous system degeneration. Garlic increases the body’s antioxidant enzymes too, which significantly reduces oxidative stress. Reducing this damage can protect against Alzheimer’s disease or slow the progression of dementia.

Natural Detoxification

Garlic contains sulfur compounds that protect against heavy metal toxicity. Toxicity can result from too much lead, mercury, chromium, or cadmium in your blood. 

The symptoms include tremors, headaches, anxiety, depression, infertility, and an increased risk for chronic diseases. The sulfur in garlic reduces the levels of these metals to better protect your health. 

Improved Athletic Performance

The Greeks and Romans discovered that garlic can also boost athletic performance, along with treating disease. Garlic was used to reduce fatigue among workers and later used to enhance performance for Olympians. 

Studies show that garlic reduces peak heart rate and stimulates better exercise capacity. Exercise-induced fatigue is also reduced when regularly consuming garlic. The anti-inflammatory properties of garlic can also reduce swelling and pain that occur to muscles as a result of strenuous exercise. 

Improved Bone Health

Studies have discovered that garlic can minimize bone loss in females by increasing estrogen levels. Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are common among elderly females as a result of bone degeneration. Regularly consuming garlic can help protect against this to keep your bones strong and healthy as you age. 

Healthier Skin

The antioxidant properties of garlic protect your skin from oxidative damage. The skin is exposed to the weather and elements daily, which increases the potential damage of free radicals. Garlic can prevent this damage, along with fighting bacterial infections. 

Bacteria that can clog pores and cause acne and breakouts can be killed by the antibacterial compounds found in garlic

Garlic for Your Heart

Garlic provides a number of health benefits but plays a particularly important role in heart health. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and dietary changes can prevent this. 

There are a number of ways garlic can help protect against heart disease. 

Lowers cholesterol: Cholesterol can be both good and bad for you. LDL cholesterol is bad, and when levels are elevated, fatty deposits can form along the arteries. These construct blood flow and can damage the arteries. As a result, the risk of heart disease and stroke increases. Garlic can lower your overall total cholesterol and reduces LDL cholesterol levels, which can reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis and stroke.

♦ Lowers blood pressure: High blood pressure (hypertension) can damage blood vessels and add strain on the heart. The risk of heart disease increases as hypertension is left untreated. Garlic has been found to reduce blood pressure levels and works as effectively as popular prescription medications. 

♦ Weight loss: Garlic can increase energy levels, allowing you to burn more calories and lose weight. Obesity and excess weight is a contributing factor to heart disease as a result of excess fat in the blood. Excess weight also contributes to diabetes, which is a risk factor for heart disease too. As part of a healthy weight loss program, garlic can protect your heart and blood vessels from this dangerous fatty accumulation. 

Caramelized Broccoli With Garlic Recipe

Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
2 heads of broccoli (1 ¼ pound total), stems peeled and heads halved lengthwise 
½ cup water 
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
Pinch of crushed red pepper 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

1. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the broccoli, cut side down, cover, and cook over moderate heat until richly browned on the bottom. This should take about 8 minutes. Add the water, cover, and cook until the broccoli is just tender and the water has evaporated. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with the garlic and the crushed red pepper, and cook uncovered until the garlic is golden brown. 

2. Season the broccoli with salt and black pepper and drizzle with the lemon juice and serve.

The Bottom Line

Folklore may tell you that garlic keeps vampires away, but in reality, it can keep your doctor away. Garlic is as powerful to your health as it is potent to the taste buds. 

Garlic has the potential to increase longevity, as it prevents several common factors known to cause premature death. Protecting the heart and boosting immunity can enhance overall health, especially in the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Garlic is easy to add to the diet, tastes great, and can help you live longer.

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