Garlic is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It’s loaded with healthy nutrients and it ca provide many health benefits. Many people around the world use this powerful vegetable in the kitchen, meaning it is normally included in a wide variety of recipes for its unique and pungent flavor. Some people consider garlic to be a spice, but they are wrong. Garlic is indeed a vegetable and is a part of the allium family, and is close related to the onion, shallot, leek and chive. As we said, garlic is first known for its flavor purposes in the kitchen, but it’s also a well-known powerful tonic that can be used to boost health. There are many different homemade recipes that include garlic. The medical experts claim that the powers of garlic begin in the taste and aroma sensations, which trigger and activate our salivary glands and digestive juices. Without tasting and smelling, our stomachs would not be ‘ready’ for food, and we’d have trouble digesting food and making use of the nutrients found within. Well, this is the main reason why supplementation is never as effective as eating a whole food diet. If you just swallow a capsule, like say a garlic capsule, you have completely bypassed the first stage of digestion – plus I don’t think your mouth is going to begin salivating for a vegetable capsule! And people who have a diminished sense of taste, garlic can be a flavor enhancer and a very useful addition to a meal to again trigger the first phase of digestion.
Garlic – Health Benefits
As we said, this super healthy vegetable can help you in many different ways. However, in Ayurvedic medicine, pungent tastes such as that from garlic benefits both the lungs and large intestine, those who have the Dosha types of Kapha and Vata are best suited for garlic consumption. Garlic contains high amounts of organosulfur compounds, which are not only responsible for the strong and sharp flavor and aroma, but also for many of the potential health benefits. The medical experts claim that there is high potential for the organosulfur compounds that are derived from garlic to prevent and treat chronic diseases; such as cancer, inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases. There are two classes of organosulfur compounds which are found in whole garlic cloves: γ-glutamylcysteines, and cysteine sulfoxides.
Well, you should really know about garlic is how these beneficial compounds are activated. This means that when whole raw garlic cloves are crushed, minced, pressed or chopped, an enzyme known as alliinase is released. And when alliinase is released or “damaged” from the pressing or mincing the garlic it begins convert a compound called alliin into ‘sulfenic acids’. You should also know that a similar reaction happens as well in onions, when you chop an onion you are breaking open cells and creating sulfenic acids, which in the onions case produce a gas that reacts with the water in your eyes, making them water. So, when the sulfenic acids react with each other in garlic, they form allicin and that is when the pungent smell fills your kitchen and the benefits become available!
Well, here’s what you need to know – when fresh garlic is chopped or crushed, the enzyme alliinase converts alliin into allicin, which is responsible for the aroma of fresh garlic and the benefits associated with consuming it. Many different studies have discovered the positive effects of garlic on more than 150 different diseases and health problems.
These are the most common health benefits:
- It will improve your cardiovascular health and circulation. Many studies have found that garlic is very effective and useful against blood clotting, plaque buildup, blood lipid levels and can reduce blood pressure
- It reduces inflammation. You should know that garlic can reduce the risk of osteoarthritis and other diseases and conditions associated with inflammation
- It will boost your immune system. Garlic has powerful antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-parasitic properties
- It has powerful anti-cancer properties. Garlic is extremely useful and beneficial for brain, lung, breast, gastric, and pancreatic cancers.
To be honest with you, the medical experts are still uncovering the answers behind exactly how the beneficial compounds in garlic are absorbed in the body, while it has been studied that allicin is absorbed in the intestines, as 90% of nutrients are, allicin has never been detected in the blood, urine or stool even after consumption of 25 g of fresh garlic or 60 mg of pure allicin. The medical experts claim that allicin is rapidly metabolized and it has been found that the actual smell of garlic breath is a proposed indicator for the bioavailability of allicin! So the smell of garlic on your breath is the outcome of the metabolized allicin, which can be measured in exhaled air!
What’s the Best Way to Use Garlic?
So, now you know how garlic is metabolized into those much talked about components of allicin and alliin you should also know how to use garlic to receive its health benefits. First, you should know that you shouldn’t cook it, because it will lose some of these beneficial properties. Just as olive oil should not be heated, garlic should not be immediately browned or cooked as it loses these beneficial properties! So, what’s the most important step to unlocking garlic’s health benefits? Well, that’s easy – by mincing or pressing it and allowing it to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes so that the enzyme reaction can happen which produces the valued allicin. And then, if you just throw minced garlic into a pan without letting it sit, this reaction does not happen. After allicin is created, the minced garlic can withstand about 10-15 minutes of medium-low heat without damaging the allicin, however it is actually still best when raw!
How many nutrients get lost over time – CHART:
- 5-15 minutes – minimal loss of nutrients
- 15-30 minutes – moderate loss of nutrients
- 45+ minutes – substantial loss of nutrients
Note: yes, we know that eating raw garlic may not sound very appealing, but you should know that it’s definitely worth it. Raw garlic is extremely powerful stuff and you can use it to treat and fight many health problems, such as:
- Colds & flu
- Sore throat
- High blood pressure
- Lowering LDL cholesterol levels
- Killing parasites
- Regulating blood sugar
- Ear infections
- Increasing bile flow
- Immune stimulation
- Anti-microbial properties
- Busting candida
Garlic is really awesome: it’s super-healthy, it’s cheap, it’s easy available. Well, what more do you want. Garlic is used all around the world, making it an easy remedy to get your hands on when on vacation. Besides the potential allicin content in garlic, garlic has more than just one benefit. Garlic is a super healthy vegetables loaded with many healthy nutrients, such as: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Along with allicin, garlic is also rich in manganese, calcium, phosphorus, and selenium, plus vitamins B6 and C.
So, you should definitely incorporate garlic into your healthy diet and include it into your homemade salad dressing, dips and use it as a garnish. Also remember that if it sprouts, don’t throw it out. Sprouted garlic is not only safe to eat but it may be even healthier than non-sprouted garlic. You’ve probably heard that sprouted foods contain more antioxidant activity than fresher, younger versions. The reason for this is because garlic is asexual, meaning when garlic sprouts you can actually plant it and a garlic plant will grow, just as with grains and edible seeds. So the benefits of sprouted garlic should not be surprising when you consider that nutritional changes typically occur in plants when they sprout. When seedlings grow into baby green plants, they make many new compounds, including those that protect the young plant against pathogens. The same thing is happening when green shoots grow from old heads of garlic! You should eat at least one or two garlic cloves a day and keep using it when it sprouts, if you’re concerned with garlic breath. Just remind yourself that your delicious smelling breath means that the garlic’s beneficial healing properties are being utilized!
Garlic Powered Recipes for Every Level of Garlic Expertise
You will need the following ingredients:
- One small jar
- One head of garlic
- Raw honey
Here’s what you need to do – first, you need to peel each garlic close use the back of your knife to crush each clove. Then, you need to leave the prepared cloves sit for 15 minutes. After that, you need to put the activated garlic into your jar and cover with enough raw honey to completely cover and submerge. Close the jar and let it hang out in your cupboard for 3-5 days. And after 3 to 5 days, you need to place this mixture in the refrigerator to keep fresh throughout the season. How to use it – well, the best way to use this remedy is to consume 1-2 cloves daily.
You will need the following ingredients:
- Tincture bottle
- Wide mouth mason jar
- 2 tbs. raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbs. lemon fresh juice
- 1/4 tsp lemon zest (optional)
- Small knob (about 3-5 cm) of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 cups (500 ml) filtered water
Here’s what you need to do – first, you need to bring the filtered water to a boil, then allow it to slightly cool. Then you need to mince or press the garlic and allow is to sit for 5-10 minutes. After that, you need to place the apple-cider vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper into a teapot. Pour in the slightly cool water and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes to infuse. Enjoy immediately
Garlic Tincture Elixir
You will need the following ingredients:
- 1 cup garlic, minced or pressed
- ½ cup raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup raw honey
- A crack of black pepper
Here’s what you need to do – first, you need to mince, press or process garlic and add it to a glass gar, allowing it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes to activate. Then, you need to mix together the apple cider vinegar and honey, then pour over the garlic. Note: make sure you let it sit for a month in a cool dark place, ensuring that the mixture is not touching any metal. After one month, you need to strain using cheesecloth and store in a tincture bottle in the fridge. Take 10 to 20 drops at a time. You can dilute them (if needed). We really hope you find this article helpful and don’t hesitate to share it with your friends and family. Thank You.