These days, many people eat raw garlic for its health benefits. However, most seem to follow some random website’s advice or hearsay, which often is wrong. So what is the most scientific way to eat raw garlic for its powerful health benefits? Let’s find out in this article.
Garlic has an ingredient called Alliin. It also has an enzyme called Allinase, which does not mix with Alliin, when the garlic clove is intact. However, when the garlic clove is chewed, crushed, or chopped, Allinase comes in contact with Alliin and converts it into Allicin, the active compound that confers garlic most of its benefits.
If you swallow a clove of garlic without chewing or chopping it, there is no mixing of Allinase with Alliin, giving you no benefit of garlic. If you cook a clove of garlic before chopping or chewing it, there is again no benefit since Allinase is destroyed by heating.
Microwaving for 60 seconds or more also causes the same harm. Allinase also gets deactivated when it comes in contact with your stomach acid. So, if you chew and immediately swallow a garlic clove, the benefit is less since Allinase gets deactived in the stomach, generating no further Allicin.
The experts advise chopping or crushing the garlic clove and letting it sit for 10 minutes before consuming it. That way, all the potential Allicin is formed. One problem with consuming raw garlic is the garlic smell in your breath and body odour will get.
Also, the pungency of Allicin can irritate the lining of your food pipe and you may also get acidity or heartburn. Aged garlic extract (AGE) is one solution for that. It gives no Allicin but some other useful compounds to the body.
Garlic pearls usually contain just about 1% of garlic oil, mixed with vegetable oil. Another solution to this is dried garlic powder, in which fresh garlic is dehydrated at low temperatures and then ground to make powder.
However, since Allinase gets deactivated in the stomach acid, such powder is pressed into a tablet form and enterically coated. This enteric coating dissolves not in the stomach, but in the neutral pH of the intestines, thereby preserving Allinase and releasing Allicin in the intestines.
This allows the benefits of garlic without its pungent smell. Garlic powder tablets without enteric coating may not be useful. If you are going to take garlic tablets as supplements, have 0.6 to 1.2 gram of dried garlic powder in tablet form. Since fresh garlic is two-thirds water by weight, you will need to eat two to four gram of raw, fresh garlic, which is one big—or two small—cloves. Don’t exceed five cloves ever, which starts reaching toxic levels.