Health Benefits of Garlic Powder & How to Use in Cooking
Garlic powder is a popular spice that can add flavor and aroma to various dishes. But did you know that garlic powder also has many health benefits? Garlic powder is made from fresh garlic cloves that have been dried and ground into a fine powder. It contains the same nutrients and compounds as fresh garlic but in a more concentrated form.
It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds that can help boost your immunity, lower your blood pressure, and more. In this article, we will explore the health benefits of garlic powder, its different types, and how to make and use it in cooking.
What is Garlic Powder?
Garlic powder is a spice made from fresh garlic cloves that have been dried and ground into a fine powder. It has a strong smell and a nutty flavor that can enhance the taste of various dishes. Garlic powder is widely used in cuisines around the world, especially in Asian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Besides this, it is also used to make spice blends, such as garlic salt, garlic pepper, and garlic bread seasoning. It is a convenient and shelf-stable alternative to fresh garlic.
Health Benefits of Garlic Powder
There are so many garlic powder benefits, because of its rich content of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds. Some of them are as below:
Boosts Immune System
Garlic powder helps boost your immune system and protect you from various infectious diseases, such as colds, flu, and pneumonia. It contains allicin, a compound that has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Allicin can kill or inhibit the growth of harmful microbes that can cause infection and inflammation.
Apart from this, it also contains vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can strengthen your immune system and fight off free radicals. This makes it one of the most prominent garlic powder benefits.
Reduce Blood Pressure
In addition, Garlic powder can help reduce your blood pressure and prevent hypertension. Due to the allicin present in it, it can relax your blood vessels and improve your blood flow. The allicin can also stimulate the production of nitric oxide and lower your blood pressure.
It also contains potassium, which is a mineral that can regulate your fluid balance and the contraction of your blood vessels. A 2020 meta-analysis of studies found that taking garlic supplements can lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with hypertension.
Support Digestive Health
Similarly, it can help support your digestive health and prevent various digestive problems, such as indigestion, constipation, gas, and bloating. Garlic can stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, such as saliva and gastric acid, that break down food and absorb nutrients.
On top of that, it can also reduce harmful bacteria in your stomach and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as probiotics. Garlic powder can also regulate your bowel movement and prevent constipation and diarrhea. A 2023 study showed that taking garlic powder can improve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, such as abdominal pain, bloating, and stool frequency.
Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Garlic powder also reduces the risk of heart disease and improves your cardiovascular health. It can lower your cholesterol levels by reducing the production and absorption of cholesterol in your liver and intestines. Garlic powder can also prevent bad cholesterol, which can cause plaque buildup and hardening of your arteries.
Furthermore, it can also reduce inflammation and oxidative stress and prevent blood clots and strokes.
Rich in Antioxidants
The powder is also rich in antioxidants, which are substances that can protect your cells from free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause oxidative stress and lead to various chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Garlic powder contains multiple antioxidants, such as vitamin C, phenolic and flavonoid compounds.
These antioxidants can scavenge free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to your DNA. It can also boost your body’s antioxidant defense system, such as glutathione and superoxide dismutase.
Boost Athletic Performance
Garlic powder can help boost your athletic performance and enhance your physical endurance. It can improve your blood circulation and oxygen delivery to your muscles, which can increase your energy and stamina. Garlic powder can also reduce fatigue and muscle soreness and speed up your recovery after exercise.
It can also modulate your hormones, such as testosterone and cortisol, which can affect your muscle growth and strength. Garlic powder has been used as a performance-enhancing agent since ancient times, especially by athletes and soldiers.
Improve Bone Health
Garlic may also improve your bone health and prevent osteoporosis, a condition that causes your bones to become weak and brittle. Garlic powder is a good source of vitamin K, which is essential for bone formation and mineralization. Vitamin K can also help your body use calcium, which is the main component of your bones.
Garlic contains calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, which are essential minerals for bone health. It can modulate hormones, such as estrogen and parathyroid hormone, which can affect your bone metabolism.
Different Types of Garlic Powder
Garlic powder comes in different types, depending on the processing method and the quality of the garlic cloves used. Some of the common types of garlic powder are:
- Regular garlic powder: This is the most common type of garlic powder, made from dehydrated and ground garlic cloves. It has a fine texture and a mild flavor. It is suitable for most cooking purposes and can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic.
- Roasted garlic powder: This is a type of powder made from roasted garlic cloves, which have a caramelized and nutty flavor. It has a coarse texture and a more robust flavor than regular garlic powder. It is ideal for adding depth and richness to dishes, such as soups and sauces.
- Granulated garlic: This is a type of garlic powder made from coarsely ground garlic cloves. It has a grainy texture and a similar flavor to regular garlic powder. It is less prone to clumping and burning than regular garlic powder. It is suitable for sprinkling on food or making spice rubs and marinades.
- Garlic salt: It is a powder mixed with salt, usually in a ratio of 3 parts salt to 1 part garlic powder. It has a salty and garlicky flavor. It is convenient for seasoning food, but it should be used sparingly to avoid excess sodium intake.
How to Make Garlic Powder
Garlic powder can be easily made at home using fresh garlic cloves and a few simple steps. To make garlic powder at home, start by peeling and chopping the garlic cloves into thin slices. You can use a knife, a garlic press, or a food processor to do this.
Next, spread the garlic slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, ensuring they are in a single layer and not overlapping. Bake the garlic slices in a preheated oven at 150°F (65°C) for about 2 hours or until they are dehydrated and crisp. Alternatively, you can use a dehydrator or an air fryer to achieve the same result.
Once the garlic slices have cooled completely, transfer them to a blender or a spice grinder and blend or grind them until they reach your desired consistency, from fine to coarse. Store it in an airtight container in a cool and dry place, and use it within a year for the best flavor and potency.
Culinary Uses of Garlic Powder
Garlic powder is a versatile spice that can be used in a variety of dishes, such as:
- Soups and stews: It can add flavor and aroma to soups and stews, such as chicken soup, vegetable soup, and chili.
- Sauces and dips: Garlic can enhance the taste and texture of sauces and dips, such as tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, cheese sauce, salsa, hummus, and guacamole.
- Marinades and rubs: It can add depth and richness to marinades and rubs, which can be used to flavor meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Vegetables and grains: They can complement the taste and nutrition of vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and broccoli.
- Eggs and cheese: It can enhance the flavor and texture of eggs and cheese, such as scrambled eggs and omelets.
Garlic Powder Side Effects
Garlic powder, a versatile seasoning derived from dehydrated garlic cloves, is generally safe for most people when consumed in moderation. However, it’s crucial to be aware of potential side effects, especially with excessive intake.
One of the primary concerns is digestive discomfort. Consuming excessive amounts of garlic powder can lead to heartburn, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. This discomfort is particularly common when consuming raw garlic cloves or garlic powder supplements.
Another potential side effect is allergic reactions. Individuals with garlic allergies may experience skin rashes, hives, swelling, or even anaphylaxis upon exposure. If you suspect a garlic allergy, consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Garlic powder is a convenient and shelf-stable alternative to fresh garlic, making it an easy way to add flavor and nutrition to your meals. It can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, sauces, marinades, rubs, vegetables, eggs, and cheese.
When using garlic powder, start with a small amount and gradually increase as needed to taste. Be mindful of potential side effects, such as digestive discomfort and allergic reactions. If you experience any adverse effects after consuming garlic powder, consult a healthcare professional.
Incorporate garlic powder into your diet and experience the myriad of health benefits it has to offer.