We’ve all heard about the multitude of health benefits of garlic, but something I certainly didn’t know is that chopping or crushing garlic and letting it rest before cooking may enhance its cancer-fighting properties.
And also, the garlic you buy in jars, already chopped, may be just as healthful.
According to an article in Eating Well, it was reported that although a recent study showed that less than one clove a day may cut prostate-cancer risk in half, and other research links garlic to a lowered incidence of stomach, colon and possibly breast cancers, that all depends on its preparation, says John A. Milner, Chief of the Nutritional Science Research Group at the National Cancer Institute.
Apparently, garlic’s active agents—allyl sulfide compounds—are produced when the clove is chopped or crushed. This breaks the cell walls and starts a cascade of chemical reactions (which also produce garlic’s characteristic smell) leading to the desired sulfides. But Milner found that heating the garlic immediately after chopping inactivated a crucial enzyme in the chemical chain. So Milner’s advice: “Crush or chop the cloves, then let them sit for 10 or 15 minutes while you prepare other ingredients. This will give the anticancer compounds a chance to form.”
As for it’s many health benefits, here are just a few of them:
Garlic is highly nutritious. A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of garlic contains:
- Manganese: 23% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B6: 17% of the RDA.
- Vitamin C: 15% of the RDA.
- Selenium: 6% of the RDA.
- Fiber: 1 gram.
- Good amounts of Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron and Vitamin B1.
- Immune Boost:
- Garlic consumption is known to boost the immune system and can help combat sickness, including the common cold.
- Reduce Blood Pressure:
The active compounds in garlic – allicin – can help reduce blood pressure. The amount of allicin needed is equivalent to about four cloves of garlic per day.
- Improves Cholesterol:
Garlic can lower total and LDL cholesterol levels, which may lower the risk of heart disease
- Reduces Risk of Alzheimers:
Garlic contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage and ageing, which may help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
- Bone Health:
Garlic may have beneficial effects on bone health in women and foods like garlic and onions have also been shown to have beneficial effects on osteoarthritis.
- Live Longer:
Effects on longevity are basically impossible to prove in humans. But given the beneficial effects on important risk factors like blood pressure, it makes sense that garlic could help you live longer.
And, last but not least, garlic is very easy to include into your diet. It can make the most bland dish, utterly delicious, it’s easy to find and very simple to cook with. The minimum effective dose for therapeutic effects is one clove eaten with meals, two or three times a day.