Garlic is one of the most well known medicinal foods. I’ve always known that garlic is good for you and, of course, it fends off vampires! I never knew just how good it could be for you, though. From what I’ve read, if you consume enough* it can do wonders for your cardiovascular health and possibly even reduce the risk of certain cancers. Some studies have even shown that not only does it lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) without negatively affecting HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).
I think everyone crushes/ dices/ minces garlic before eating it, right? Swallowing the cloves whole seems a bit strange. Finally something we do just for the benefit of our tastebuds that actually adds to our health too! According to the book The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden, that crushing/ dicing/ mincing previously mentioned is crucial to retrieving those health benefits out of the garlic. The book explains that the active ingredient that gives you all those wonderful benefits, allicin, is only released once the garlic is crushed. It is the product of a reaction between alliin and the enzyme allinase. Apparently they live in different little compartments of each garlic clove and when you smash the clove, they get released and make allicin.** Even though I think that part is super cool, I think we’ve had enough of the scientific stuff.
This process got me thinking, though. Are other herbs like that as well? Similar to garlic, cilantro and basil (which you know I use often) become so much more fragrant and richer in flavor when they’re torn or smushed. I wonder if they, too, are their best for you only after their initial structure is destroyed. Interesting….
If you have any thoughts on the subject please share them! I’m always happy to learn 🙂
PS: According to the same book, microwaving garlic eliminates most of the health benefits that it may have. So remember kids, crush it but don’t rush (to reheat) it!
*It seems that you’d have to consume a HUGE amount of garlic daily to see the results that were shown in some of the studies I’ve read about but I mean, it can’t hurt right?
**Please remember that these are just things I’ve read in various books and articles. I am not a doctor or nutritionist so don’t take my words as absolute fact but just as fun new tis bits of information!