The garlic’s powers are in its aroma and also in its taste. The taste of the garlic activates and triggers both our digestive juices and salivary glands. Without the ability to smell and taste, our stomach would never be ready for the food we are about to consume, which will cause digestive issues, and it wouldn’t use the nutrients that are inside the food.
This is the main reason why taking supplements will never be effective as much as the consumption of whole foods or the use of herbal tinctures. If you swallow a garlic capsule lets say, the first stage of the digestion is completely missed -- the taste receptors will receive nothing, therefore the nutrients will not be absorbed properly. For those people who are dealing with diminished sense of taste, try eating garlic, it will improve the sense of taste and it will trigger the first step of the digestion, add it in as much meals as possible.
The Health Benefits of Garlic
But however, the garlic is beneficial for us even if we don’t take the digestion in mind. In the Ayurvedic medicine it was believed that the pungent taste such as the garlic has, are beneficial for us mostly our large intestine and our lungs, and also for the ones that have Dosha types of Vata and Kapha should consume garlic as well.
It is one of the richest sources for organosulfur compounds, which are responsible for our overall health, and also for the pungent aroma and flavor in the garlic.
The organosulfur compounds that are contained in the garlic, are very potent and likely to fight against chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, and even cancer! The organosulfur compounds are separated in two classes, the cysteine sulfoxides and γ-glutamylcysteines.
You really need to understand how these compounds that are contained in the garli are activated, and how are they beneficial for us. There is an enzyme called alliinase that is released from the garlic cloves, when they are minced, chopped, pressed or crushed. When this enzyme is released, in the crushing, mincing or pressing process, it is converted in to sulfenic acids.
It is very interesting, because there is a similar converting process in the onions as well. Also when you crush or chop an onion, you are breaking its cells wide open, from which the sulfenic acids are created. In this case, a gas is released that is reactive when it comes in contact with water, which is why we are always “crying” when we are chopping onions.
When the sulfenic acids make contact with each other in the garlic, they are creating allicin, which is the moment when the whole kitchen fills with the pungent smell, and also it is the moment when all of the benefits are becoming available.
So, when the fresh garlic is crushed or chopped, the enzyme called alliinase is converting the alliin into allicin, which is the one that is releasing the aroma of the fresh garlic, and the one that provides the benefits when we consume garlic.
There are even books written about this stinky rose, also the garlic has been included in many studies, in which it was researched how the garlic would react to a certain disease, it was researched on over 150 diseases. By far, one of the most studied phytonutrients is the allicin from the garlic.
Beneficial Properties of Garlic
1. Boosts the Immune System’s Function
Garlic contains powerful anti-fungal, anti-parasitic- antibacterial and antiviral properties.
2. Reduces Inflammation
The risk of osteoarthritis can be reduced with the consumption of garlic, and many other conditions that are associates with this one.
3. Improves our Cardiovascular Health and our Circulation
It has been proven many times, that the garlic is able to prevent from plaque buildups, blood clotting, cold reduce reduce blood pressure and high blood lipid levels.
4. Fights Cancer
The garlic is beneficial for our breast, pancreatic cancer, lungs and mostly our brain.
Scientists still haven’t discovered how the healthy compounds in the garlic are absorbed by our body. On the other hand, they have discovered that the allicin is absorbed in our intestines, just like 90% of the nutrients we intake, therefore no allicin has ever been detected in the urine, stool or in the blood. Consuming 25g of fresh garlic means that you have consumed 60 mg of pure allicin.
According to these findings, the allicin is metabolized rapidly, also it was concluded that the smell in our breath from the garlic is caused from the allicin because it is bio-available. So the metabolized allicin is the one that causes the garlic smell to occur in your breath, which mostly is felt while exhaling.
Eating Garlic the Raw-ng Way
Now that you have learned how the garlic’s compounds, the alliin and allicin are metabolized, you should also learn how to get the maximum benefits from the garlic. The garlic should not be cooked or browned, same as the olive oil should not be heated, otherwise it would lose its beneficial properties.
We already discussed how you can get the most out of the garlic, only by mincing it, crushing it or pressing the cloves, and then let it stay on a room temperature for about 10 minutes. That way the enzyme reaction will be able to proceed and it will produce allicin.
If you don’t do this, and just put the garlic cloves in a frying pan on heat, the reaction will not be able to happen. But if you crush the garlic, and leave it for 10 minutes, you can then put it on medium heat for about 15 minutes and the allicin will not be damaged at all. But the garlic is the most beneficial when it is consumed raw!
- 5 to 15 minutes -- minimal loss of nutrients.
- 15 to 30 minutes -- moderate loss of nutrients.
- 45 minutes or more -- substantial loss of nutrients.
Eating the garlic raw may not sound attracting at all, but that is when the garlic provides most benefits, and that way you will be able to enjoy its healing abilities, and that is the only way that this is possible.
When You should use Raw Garlic
Many nutritionists recommend eating the garlic raw, but we like to show you even a more effective and upgraded way of consuming it, Garlic + Honey, and it is able to:
- Kill parasites
- Lower the levels of the bad cholesterol (LDL)
- Prevent fromHigh Blood Pressure
- Treat Sore Throat
- Fight Coughs
- Prevent from Flu & Colds
- Prevent Mastitis
- It is anti-microbial
- Busts candida
- Increases the bile flow
- Boosts your immune system
- Prevents from ear infections
- Regulates the blood sugar levels
Note: Before you start to consume garlic more intensively, consult with your doctor or a health specialist, especially if you are taking some blood thinners.
Another cool thing about the garlic is, that it is widely used all around the globe, so even if you are on a vacation with your family, you can still buy it at the local grocery store or the super market.
Now, besides that the garlic is very healthy because it contains allicin, also the garlic contains some other benefits such as every other natural food, it is a whole food which means that it is full of countless minerals, vitamins, pytonutrients and antioxidants. Besides the allicin, the garlic also is a rich source of calcium, manganese, selenium and phosphorus, and also contains huge amounts of vitamin C and vitamin B6.
So you might want to include the garlic as an everyday ingredient in your life. Add it in your dips, salad dressings or simply use it like a garnish. And keep in mind that if the garlic sprouts, don’t throw it away. Not only that the sprout garlic is safe to be consumed, it might be a lot more healthier than the fresh garlic. In many food cases, the sprout foods contain more healthy properties and contain more antioxidants than the fresh ones.
The main reason for all this is because the garlic is asexual, this means that then the garlic is sprouted, you can use it to grow a garlic plant, just like planting edible seeds and grains. Then it is no surprise that the sprouted garlic is more beneficial than the fresh garlic, also because in most plants, they provide more benefits when they are sprout, that is the time when the nutritional changes happen.
Many new compounds are created when the seeds grow into a baby green plant, including the compounds that protect the plant from pathogens and other harmful diseases. The same happens when when green shoots are growing from an old harlic head.
So it is wise to consume at least one or two garlic cloves on daily basis, even when it is sprouted. If the garlic breath worries you, and you don’t want to consume it only because of that, remember that when the breath smells that way the garlic is starting to release the healing compounds and the garlic’s properties are utilized.
Take a look at how simple it is to make the upgrade of Garlic + Honey, we talked about earlier in the article.
Upgraded Garlic + Honey
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme
- Unpasteurized liquid honey
- 1 garlic head, peeled (organic)
- 3 to 6 fresh needles of rosemary
- Peel every garlic clove well, then use a back of a knife or something hard, so that you can crush each clove a little bit, so you can peel the paper shell.
- Put the fresh herbs in a jar, then add the crushed garlic as well, and cover all that with honey, all the way to the top, just leave a few inches from the top. Because when the fermentation process begins the honey will slightly start to expand.
- Close the jar, so that no air is going in or out, than leave it on a room temperature for 3 to 5 days. Put the jar on a plate, that way it will catch any overflow.
- In the jar, the garlic will release its healing compounds in the honey, and the honey will sweeten the garlic.
- After the period of 3 to 5 days, put it in your fridge so that it stays fresh for the rest of the season.
- Consume 1 or 2 garlic cloves on daily basis.
We recommend you to flip the jar often, maybe once in a few days so that the ingredients can mix well, and the healing compounds contact with each other more easily. Also you want to open the jar once a day, so that it can release the CO2 that is in the jar.
The fermentation process is very simple, but not always easy. Some jars if not opened for days, may explode due to the CO2 buildups that cause pressure on the jar. It will happen during the fermentation process.