Alliums are a pretty big deal in the gardening world for the pretty flowers they bloom, in gastronomy for their intense flavours, and in the health world for their amazing nutritional benefits. Not quite sure what an allium is? Alliums are a family of plants made up of onions, garlic, chives, scallions, and leeks. These medicinal plants have nutritional benefits to spare and add an incomparable flavour to your cooking!
The Fragrant Benefits:
While the science on vampire prevention is still spotty, studies have shown that increased consumption of garlic can lower the risk of cancer. Onions and leeks also have anti-cancer benefits due to the sulfur-based compounds they contain, which contribute to that distinct smell. Alliums are high in flavonoids, which protect cells from oxidative damage and inflammation in addition to maximizing the benefits of vitamin C. Eating alliums protects your cardiovascular health by protecting your blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, and preventing the formation of blood clots. Onions and garlic have antibacterial benefits, as well, preventing infection and bacterial growth. It has been suggested that garlic even improves iron metabolism.
Preparation Is Half the Benefit:
The way you prepare your food can have an impact on the nutrients they contain! To maximize nutrition and taste, use fresh, crushed garlic instead of powdered, flake, or the pre-minced, packaged form. Letting your garlic sit for some time after crushing or mincing increases the health benefits as medicinal compounds are formed from separate chemicals within the cells. And don’t be too quick to over peel an onion! The outer layer of onions tends to contain more flavonoids, so peel off only the most paper-like skin! Finally, when choosing leeks, look for ones that are firm with dark green leaves.
Forget about bad breath and wipe away those tears from cutting onions! Nothing beats the flavour of alliums in recipes. Starting a dish with onions and garlic will elevate almost anything you make. Try a frittata with leeks; add shallots or garlic to your salad dressing or caramelize onions for a hearty soup or stew. Share with friends…so no one will notice your breath 🙂