Garlic has been used throughout the ages by many different cultures. Since the beginning of recorded history, garlic has been documented as having the ability to prevent and treat disease, promote health, and even provide strength and improved vigor. Garlic has been found in ancient Greek temples and Egyptian pyramids. Medical texts from ancient civilizations such as Greece, Rome, Egypt, India, and China all recommend prescribing garlic. Hippocrates was known to use garlic in his treatments, and early Olympians used garlic as a performance-enhancing remedy. Garlic has several names, describing it’s powerful healing potency; including ‘Russian penicillin’, ‘natural antibiotic’, ‘vegetable viagra’, ‘plant talisman’, ‘rustic’s theriac’ and ‘snake grass’ (1, 2).
Nowadays, garlic is not only used as a delicious flavoring agent in dinner but is also used to help with a wide variety of health issues. Garlic has antimicrobial properties, therefore it aids in fighting off fungal, viral and bacterial infections. Garlic also has antioxidant properties, benefits the cardiovascular system, reduces cholesterol levels, improves cellular detoxification, nourishes mitochondria, improves memory, reduces the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, brings down high blood pressure, reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, and possibly helps fight cancer. Allicin, the active ingredient in garlic is also used therapeutically to help fight small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).
HOW TO REAP THE BENEFITS IN COOKED GARLIC
The health-promoting component in garlic is called allicin. Allicin is created when two components in raw garlic – a protein called alliin, and an enzyme called alliinase – come in contact with each other. This only occurs when a garlic clove is cut or crushed, as the alliin and alliinase are kept separated in whole, intact garlic. Alliinase, like other enzymes, is heat sensitive.
Therefore, when we cut garlic and immediately throw it into a hot dish, the alliinase will not have the time to turn alliin into allicin. But, if we crush garlic then let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before we put it in our hot dish, we can cook garlic and still reap all the health benefits! Allicin is not heat sensitive, and once allicin is made, it will not be destroyed by cooking. With this simple kitchen trick, we can cook our garlic and still reap all its benefits (9).
Jo Robinson, author of “Eating on the Wild Side” discusses this tip as well as many others in her beautifully written and informative book.
I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Do you crush your garlic and let it sit before cooking with it?
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