Top 10 Benefits of Eating Raw Garlic

The notion of eating raw garlic is enough to have you shuddering in revulsion. In popular folklore, garlic has been used to keep vampires away but the smell itself will keep everyone at bay, regardless if they're vampires or not! The benefits of garlic have been extolled through the ages. From ancient Egyptian and Indian culture to Vikings–all these cultures used garlic in some way or the other. Today, there are even garlic supplements to maximize its positive effects on health.

Benefits of Eating Raw Garlic

Garlic is a vegetable from the onion (Allium) family and is rich in many vital nutrients essential for a healthy functioning body. Apart from using garlic to flavor foods, garlic has long been recognized as a treatment for certain illnesses. The healthy component of garlic is a sulphurous compound called allicin, which can also be credited for the distinctive smell. This compound is easily absorbed by the digestive tract and transported all over the body. Here are the reasons why you should eat more raw garlic.

  1. Garlic is very high in antioxidants. These are important in the body to mop up any free radicals that can cause cell damage which can lead to some diseases. One of the ways in which free radicals can affect the body is the process of aging. The antioxidants protect the body from diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia which occur as a result of aging. Another use of garlic's antioxidant activity is in acne treatment. Allicin can be used in acne products to minimize inflammation caused by free radicals and kill the bacteria present in blemishes.
  2. Studies have found that regular consumption of garlic can lower the total and unhealthy LDL component of cholesterol by about 10-15%. There appeared to be no noticeable effect on HDL cholesterol or the triglycerides.
  3. Garlic has also been recognized to act as an antibiotic–eradicating any bacteria harmful to the body is one of the benefits of eating raw garlic.
  4. There are also some anti-fungal properties to garlic.
  5. Garlic has an anticoagulant effect on blood thereby preventing strokes, heart attacks or heart disease. Garlic can help reduce your risk of developing atherosclerosis which is plaque formation in the arteries that leads to narrowing of blood vessels.
  6. There is reported evidence that garlic can improve the body's immune system. The study showed that people who consumed garlic had fewer colds for a much shorter duration than people who did not take garlic. If you are prone to colds and flu, you are often encouraged to include garlic in your diet.
  7. Garlic has been used in the Far East to reduce hypertension. A study compared a garlic extract supplement with Atenolol, a medication for hypertension. Results for both were comparable and effective at decreasing blood pressure over a 24-week period. The amount of allicin to consume for this desired effect is about 4 cloves of garlic daily.
  8. Another study found that individuals eating garlic reduced their risk for osteoarthritis. Some preliminary studies have shown the promise of garlic supplementation in the prevention of bone loss. It is believed that the garlic is able to increase the levels of estrogen in women thus decreasing bone loss. More in-depth study is required to prove this hypothesis which is based on rodent studies.
  9. A big consumption of garlic is also associated with decreased risk of certain cancers like breast, colon, and pancreatic cancer.
  10. Garlic is believed to deter mosquitoes if it is rubbed into the exposed skin or keeping a few cloves the vicinity.

How to Eat Raw Garlic

Although there are plenty of benefits of eating raw garlic, the unpleasant taste and smell are enough to put anyone off. Here are a few ideas on how to incorporate garlic into your diet:

  • Homemade salsa made with tomatoes, onions and garlic. Bear in mind the longer the salsa with garlic stands, the less potency the allicin has–rather add garlic only when the salsa is about to be consumed.
  • Pesto: either make your own pesto or opt for the ready-made store-bought variety. Chop some garlic cloves and mix into the pesto. Avoid heating the garlic up, so add the garlic after the pesto has been prepared.
  • Salad dressing: add garlic to any homemade salad dressing. Ranch dressing is well complimented by garlic. Another option is to add thinly sliced garlic cloves into your salad.
  • Lacto-fermenting garlic cloves can make eating them more palatable. To do this, add cloves to a salt brine and allow to stand.
  • Garlic bread: add butter and raw minced garlic to toasted bread as a side to any meal. Avoid heating up the garlic to preserve the potency of the allicin. You can mix up some crushed garlic to butter and spread onto bread that has already been toasted.
  • A few cloves of crushes garlic added to guacamole should be enough to spruce up the flavor. Another option for a garlic dip is to mix one crushed clove with 1-4 tablespoons of mayonnaise.
  • Homemade pasta sauce with a healthy dose of garlic is a good way to include garlic into your diet.
  • Add crushed garlic to mashed potatoes.
  • Homemade hot sauce: deseeded peppers blended with some garlic, olive oil, vinegar and salt. They will make a great accompaniment to foods like chips, tacos or enchiladas.
  • If you prefer to eat garlic cloves directly: chop them up, place on a spoon and consume to fully enjoy the benefits of eating raw garlic. You can attempt to minimize the garlic breath by consuming at night. You can also try placing some honey on the spoon before you eat the garlic. The honey may mask the garlic flavor. Some people also follow up the garlic with some water or milk.
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