The health advantages of raw garlic are many. Especially when eaten raw, a small amount of daily garlic consumption is good for your overall health, for reasons which this article will explain.
Since many ethnic food cultures use garlic in their cuisines, I felt it appropriate to address this marvelous herb here on Ethnic Foods R Us. So here we go, with the …
Health Advantages of Raw Garlic!
Garlic is often considered an herb, but technically it is a vegetable, a relative of onion, leeks, shallots, etc. Garlic is of course used most often to add zip and pungency to recipes. As a flavor, it is strong and powerful.
Garlic’s “power” is not limited to culinary uses, however. For centuries many cultures have recognized and utilized its medicinal qualities. Health advantages of raw garlic used as a medicine include prevention and treatment of a wide and varied range of diseases and physical aliments.
Why is garlic so good for you?
Garlic is chocked full of essential nutrients: amino acids, enzymes, and vitamins. It also provides you with sulfur compounds from the amino acid allicin. It is this allicin which gives garlic its unmistakable strong odor and gives it the “bite” on the palate.
But listen up … in order to receive the full health advantages of raw garlic, you do have to eat it raw!
Sure, cooked garlic is still of benefit to you. However, when garlic is cooked it loses its ability to provide allicin. Again, it is allicin that gives garlic one of the most important components of health benefits, which we will see during the rest of this article. Cooked garlic deactivates the alliinase it contains. Alliinase is the enzyme which, when garlic is cut or chewed, produces the all important allicin.
It is advisable, before taking raw garlic, to chop it or crush it and allow it to sit for a few minutes, first. Studies have shown that this exposure to the air facilitates the beneficial compounds it contains to become fully activated.
So, “Okay”, you say, “but … raw garlic is incredibly strong tasting, it stings and bites your tongue. How in the heck does someone with a sensitive palate incorporate raw garlic into a daily diet?”
Me personally, I have eaten a clove or two of raw garlic daily for most of my adult life. First thing in the morning – which is the best, most beneficial time to eat it. Before you eat or drink anything else, get the raw garlic in you.
But that’s me, and I have developed a taste and palate for raw garlic. If you just can’t stomach this straight-ahead method, here are a few suggestions that are less aggressive on the tongue:
- Chop the garlic up very fine, as in minced, and mix it in with a good, tasty salad.
- Add the raw garlic to your favorite veggie smoothie, or a green health juice.
- Cut the clove of garlic into little pieces and swallow them whole with a gulp of water. This way you do not have to chew the garlic.
Now, getting back on point, here is the Number 1 Health Advantage of Raw Garlic-
Studies have proven that increasing your intake of raw garlic is directly correlated with decreased risk of several different types of cancers. These include breast cancer, and cancer of the stomach, pancreas, colon, esophagus and stomach.
Now that alone should be enough to make a strong case for taking raw garlic daily. But there is much, much more.
8 More Health Advantages of Raw Garlic-
- Raw Garlic is Good For Your Joints– Studies have shown that osteoarthritis is far less prevalent among people who eat a lot of garlic. And those who do suffer from osteoarthritis can gain some relief by increasing their intake of raw garlic.
- Garlic Intake Will Lower Your Cholesterol Level– Daily consumption of garlic has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels by anywhere from 9 to 12 percent. These reductions are most notable with triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol.
- Antibacterial Agents– Garlic is a natural antibiotic, capable of eliminating harmful bacteria. At the same time, it does not kill healthy bacteria. This quality makes it a better alternative to chemical antibiotics, which do kill off healthy bacteria.
- High Levels of Antioxidants – Antioxidants are beneficial for preventing types of cancer. Also, the antioxidants in garlic serve to destroy free radicals and reduce stress from overall oxidation. Free radicals are damaging to your cell membranes and DNA. High levels of oxidative stress are associated with quite a few diseases and unhealthy conditions.
- Anti-fungal Qualities– You can use garlic as a way to eliminate fungal infections. The allicin produced from eating raw garlic will destroy fungi.
- Provides a Boost to Your Immune System– Garlic has powerful antiviral properties. Garlic is effective for treating and preventing the common cold. Studies have shown that people who consume garlic regularly have significantly fewer colds. Also, when garlic eaters do get a cold, they tend to recover much faster than people who do not take garlic regularly. In fact, for a long time in Russia, garlic has often been referred to as “Russian Penicillin” – owing to its remarkable ability to treat infections with effectiveness.
- Garlic Keeps Your Blood Thin– When the blood becomes too thick, you are at higher risk of heart disease and stroke, caused by the formation of blood clots. Garlic consumption aids in keeping your blood thinned at a healthy level, preventing these potential disasters. Keeping the blood thinned also helps in destroying plaque. Plaque build-up in the body contributes to the development of atherosclerosis.
- Garlic Lowers Your Blood Pressure- In China, garlic has been used for generations as a medication for lowering high blood pressure. In Japan, garlic has been recognized for so long as an effective means of reducing high blood pressure that the Japanese government officially recognized it as such.
And there you have it – the health advantages of raw garlic. I do hope you found this information useful. And let me ask you – do you take raw garlic regularly? If so, how do you take it? And if not, would you now be more likely to find a way to include some raw garlic in your daily diet?
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