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Wednesday, 07 March 2007 10:05

Garlic: maximize benefits by crushing, waiting, eating raw

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Crushing garlic, letting it stand, and then eating it raw—according to Argentinean researchers—gives people the best health benefits.

According to Argentina researcher Claudio R. Galmarini (ITA-EEA La Consulta and CONICET, Mendoza, Argentina) and his U.S. and Argentina colleagues, crushing garlic and letting it stand for several minutes improves garlic’s healthy properties by opening up cell membranes that release an enzyme with healthy attributes.

Galmarini’s article (“Effect of Cooking on Garlic (Allium sativum L.) Antiplatelet Activity and Thiosulfinates Content”) appears in the March 7, 2007 issue of the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (volume 55, p. 1280)

Crushing or chopping garlic releases the enzyme alliinase, which is important for creating anti-clotting (blood thinning) compounds. Crushed garlic, according to the researchers’ results, is better than uncrushed (whole) garlic. When both are heated, the crushed garlic maintains more of the healthy alliinase enzyme.

Letting the crushed garlic stand for about ten minutes—rather than eating it immediately—also helps to maximize the positive affect of its vital ingredients.

In addition, their results support previous studies that delve into how heat adversely affects the chemical compounds that give garlic its healthy characteristics. The researchers found that even small levels of heat reduce the healthy benefits of garlic. They recommend that if garlic must be cooked, do so only six minutes or less.

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