It is pretty widely known that garlic is a really healthy food. The reasons behind its healthy status are manifold and include being strongly antibiotic and blood cleansing – so very good for acne sufferers; it is also a powerful anti-fungal and anti-viral. Garlic has been shown to help reduce high levels of the unhealthy type cholesterol (LDL) and for lowering blood pressure; it is high is selenium, a potent anti-oxidant and it has been shown to offer great protection for the cardiovascular system and from various cancers – pretty amazing, no?
These incredible healthy-giving powers are mainly attributed to the active ingredient allicin, a sulphur compound. The allinanse enzyme gets activated once the cell walls of the garlic clove have been damaged. Therefore, in order to get the most out of your garlic, chop or crush it well before you heat it or add other ingredients. I find the best way to do this is to prep your garlic before you do any other preparation for the dish you are making. Allow it to sit and add to your cooking as late as possible to retain as much of the healthy active ingredietns as possible.
Microwaving garlic pretty much renders its health properties inactive (I think this is probably true for many nutrients in food) and eating it raw, having let it sit once crushed for a least 10 minutes, provides the optimum levels but if you have a delicate digestive system, you may find raw garlic causes a burning sensation and, of course, you’ll be a bit stinky. Chewing parsley can help with garlicky breath and will also provide you with a wealth of vitamins and anti-oxidants, so it’s a win win!