Would you believe that I never cooked with garlic until I was almost 30 years old? I’ll admit that I was not a good cook… I would make food, but I definitely wasn’t a cook.
Fortunately for my family, I became a cook and I discovered the magical flavor that garlic could add to the meals I prepared. As my culinary skills improved, my journey into health continued and I learned about the medicinal properties of garlic, specifically, RAW garlic.
I know, I know, raw garlic may have health benefits, but it isn’t your friend in social situations (more on that in a bit).
Just look at some of these health benefits that come from garlic:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Blood thinner
- Boosts the immune system (preventing some cancers in addition to the common cold)
- Lowers blood sugar
- There has even been some research showing that it fights against wrinkles and aging skin!
Garlic is one of the world’s most potent natural medicines. The database of the National Institute of Health contains more than 3,200 studies on the therapeutic benefits of garlic. Most of these studies are show how garlic prevents, slows and reverses cardiovascular disease- one of American’s major health problems.
If you look at garlic, the active ingredient is allicin, a chemical that transforms into organosulfurs. These are compounds that decrease oxidation, inflammation and other cell destroying processes… basically something that can prevent every major chronic disease. Heat will breakdown and destroy these beneficial components, which is why eating it raw is best.
But the STINKY BREATH that it can cause, especially when eaten raw!!! Often we have a breath mint or chew gum to try to mask the smell of garlic, but you can also use a more natural approach. Chew on some fresh parsley (or add it to your recipes) or chew on some roasted fennel, anise or cardamon seeds (keep some of these seeds with you instead of gum).
As always, using culinary doses of garlic is the best long term approach for receiving its health benefits. My favorite way to consume raw garlic is to make guacamole or gazpacho, but you could also make a yummy dip or salad dressing with it. Or, maybe you are one of THOSE people that just likes to chew on a raw clove (NOT me!).
Here is a recipe from Chef John for Gazpacho that I found on Allrecipes https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/222331/chef-johns-gazpacho/
Chef John’s Gazpacho Recipe
- Combine diced tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, green onion, jalapeno, and garlic in a large bowl. Stir in salt, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
- Place cherry tomatoes, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in a blender. Cover and puree until smooth. Pour pureed mixture through a strainer into the tomato-cucumber mixture; stir to combine.
- Place 1/3 of the tomato mixture into the blender. Cover, turn blender on, and puree until smooth. Return pureed mixture to the remaining tomato-cucumber mixture. Stir to combine. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Season cold soup with salt and black pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with basil.