Callie’s Cabin: Great garlic for your health’s sake |

Callie’s Cabin: Great garlic for your health’s sake

Garlic can help you to guard your immune system and ward off colds, flu, and viruses.

One trip to Anchorage, Alaska on the night before flying home, I felt a cold coming on. I ordered artisan Greek vegetarian garlic pizza. I sipped herbal tea while savoring bits of fresh garlic, tomatoes, and olives. I scheduled my flight later to get a good night’s sleep. I did not get sick. I give credit to the garlic, nature’s cure that protected me like it is believed to have done in the Middle Ages when people used the herb to fight the bubonic plague.

Fast forward to today during late summer around the lake. We all want to stay healthy, right? It’s the time to add garlic to your diet. Essential compounds in garlic are, well, essential. One important ingredient from garlic allicin which is a heart healthy treasure and also found in the other vegetable, onion. Another compound worth noting is diallyl disulfide which is in the anti-cancer lock box. Its plentiful list of ingredients makes this herb antimicrobial, antiviral, heart healthy, and a cancer fighter, tool.

Garlic may not make the grade as a super nutrient-dense herb. But that does not mean antioxidant-rich garlic is unhealthy. Like vinegar and olive oil, remarkable garlic deserves its own book.

Garlic is known as the heart-healthy herb, thanks to its compounds, especially sulfur. Stacks of studies, past and present, show it can help keep the numbers in check for blood pressure, cholesterol, and lower the odds of heart attacks and strokes.

Also, garlic is an immune system booster, which may lower your risk of developing cancer, according to stacks of research. Holistic doctors believe in the healing powers of garlic, too. It is known that garlic contains antiviral compounds.

Shake It Up Now: Garlic is a popular culinary herb in a variety of dishes. My personal favorite is sautéing the cloves to give it a mellow flavor in stir-fries and herby Italian sauces. I eat garlic when I am traveling.

Garlic is available in many forms, from chopped fresh cloves to minced, ground powder, and in spice blends. Capsules contain the active ingredient allicin. It can be consumed and used topically.

Safety Sound Bite: Do not consume more than two cloves of raw garlic daily. If you overindulge, the consequences can be digestive problems, such as heartburn or acid reflux, and flatulence. Remember, less is more.

Here is recipe inspired by my past in grad school. Pasta plates, like this one, are not pricey, and are fast to make.

Immune-Boosting Pasta with Garlic and Tomatoes

Pasta with garlic and tomatoes is an Italian dish that can be made quickly. Make sure to use your favorite extra virgin olive oil for it. This recipe is easy on the budget. Two favorite herbs — garlic and parsley — make it a perfect dish for any time year-round. It is a fail-proof recipe which can be used for a side dish or a light meal.

¾ pound of spaghetti, cooked

Sea salt to taste

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

8 garlic cloves, minced

¾ teaspoon lemon pepper

1 cup Roma tomatoes, chopped

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Marjoram or basil for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and salt. (Italian chefs recommend salting the water to the salinity of sea water.) Cook pasta, several minutes, until al dente (not overcooked). Drain. Do not rinse. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over low heat, then add garlic and sauté, do not overcook. Stir-fry tomatoes in same pan. Transfer drained pasta to warm serving bowl. Add the garlic and tomatoes to pasta. Toss. Top with cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

So, as we’re edging near autumn but still are in late summer, this recipe is ideal for a hot but easy almost no-cook dinner. Add fresh herbs and spices and you’ve got a super flavorful, healthful dish. And heck, don’t forget the wine. It has antioxidants and will help you chill.

Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is

Spaghetti and sauce in a frying pan are sprinkled with cheese and fresh basil on a background of spices and onions. (Getty Images)

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