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One advantage of social distancing

There are few upsides to this crazy year where we have all had to stay 2 metres apart and wear face masks. But I’ve managed to find a positive that I want to share with you. My use of garlic in cooking has increased exponentially over the past six months. Why – the answer is simple. My husband used to complain if I used too much garlic as he was sensitive to the bad breath if might cause. He works with customers in face to face meetings and he didn’t want to give an unfavourable impression. Covid-19 restrictions on being close to customers has conveniently ended his objections. Why am I so keen to include as much garlic as possible into our diet? What are its health benefits? Garlic contains an active ingredient called allicin which is released when the garlic is chopped or crushed. Garlic can potentially help to lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and support cardio- vascular health. It also has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. What do anti-oxidants do for us?

They help to reduce the damage caused by free radicals in our bodies that accumulate from a typical western diet with refined carbohydrate, processed meat, red meat, alcohol and vegetable oils used for high temperature cooking. This type of diet also often causes inflammation in our bodies which we might not be aware of until we get ill. To get the best health benefits from using garlic some researchers think that it might help to chop or crush garlic 10 minutes before adding it to a dish. There is conflicting information regarding how the beneficial substances within the garlic are affected by cooking. It could therefore be advantageous to add minced garlic at the end of cooking or add it to uncooked foods such as into a fresh salad dressing or dressing for steamed vegetables or a salsa verde to be served alongside meat or fish. However you eat it I’m really happy that I’m able to use it in my cooking much more freely now and I shall try to continue even when social distancing is a thing of the past.

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