You’ve probably heard the term “superfood”, or have seen the buzzword circulate around the web, but what exactly makes any food or ingredient so super? The answer is simple: a superfood is a food item or ingredient that contains a high density concentration of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, healthy fats or enzymes. The list of superfoods is extensive and growing, with some of the most common being kale, quinoa, flax seed, chia seed, hemp seed, salmon, turmeric, coconut oil, cocoa, sweet potatoes and eggs. These are all quite simple to incorporate into a daily diet, and can be enhanced with complimentary and flavor-enhancing superfood ingredients, such as garlic.
Garlic is generally thought of as a seasoning, but it is actually considered a vegetable because it has both a bulb and leaves. It is a close relative to the onion, shallot, chive and leek and is native to central Asia. There are many active compounds in garlic that have been researched and deemed helpful in combating heart disease, colds and some infections, controlling blood pressure, improving hair loss issues, and aiding in the treatment of diabetes. Because the microbial properties in raw garlic are so strong, adding crushed, sliced or chopped cloves into cooking recipes is a great way to include its benefits without eating an overly pungent dose of its cloves alone. And, in moderation, consuming garlic is a great way to increase your daily intake of the antioxidant, Allicin, which helps kill bacteria, aid in a strong immune system, increase the health of hair and skin, and aid in lowering cholesterol levels.
Like many superfood ingredients, for those taking medication, it is wise to know how to use them safely and effectively. Garlic is known to be high in organosulfur compounds, which act as anti-clotting agents. For that reason, it may increase the effect of blood thinning medications, and could increase the risk of bleeding, so should be used sparingly and in accordance to your doctor’s advice when consumed with them.
Ultimately, garlic is a superfood ingredient that is typically masked as a simple seasoning, that offers much more than just flavor. Try this simple and flavor rich garlic recipe that is perfect alone or paired with a lean protein of your choice (such as wild caught fish or chicken):
Garlic Lemon Quinoa
•2 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock or broth
•1 cup quinoa
•1.5 tablespoons of fresh chopped or crushed garlic (more or less to taste)
•½ tablespoon of olive oil
•½ teaspoon sea salt
•½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper (optional)
•2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Pour stock or broth into a medium sauce pan, add in all ingredients besides the quinoa (garlic, olive oil, sea salt, ground pepper and lemon) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add quinoa and stir, bringing mixture back to a boil and then reducing to low heat, covering and allowing to simmer for 15-20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, serve and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days.
Kelsey Lee is a fitness and lifestyle personality. Her experience ranges from the aesthetics spectrum of body transformations, to the dynamics of everyday functionality – always including proper and practical nutrition, cardiovascular, resistance and core training. Kelsey Lee creates candid mix and match workouts, v-log and adventure videos. She loves to help people from all walks of life, make fit matter and live more intentionally, and has been doing so since 2005. Follow her on Instagram: @kelseyleedotcom