Not only does raw garlic ward off vampires but this inexpensive superfood can dramatically improve your overall health explains, Selma Ricardo, a Mississauga nutritionist.
“It’s such an inexpensive way to fight off and prevent a whole laundry list of ailments especially during cold and flu seasons,” she says. Ricardo recommends eating one raw clove a day for preventing colds and flus and up to three raw cloves a day if you’re sick or starting to get sick.
According to Ricardo, eating raw garlic releases allicin -an active sulphur compound which is responsible for garlic’s anti-bacterial and immune-boosting powers.
Maybe you’re not too keen on chomping down on raw clove but according to Ricardo making the sacrifice can help improve the following:
Boost the immune system: Garlic’s antioxidants – compounds that improve cellular function – help the body kill unwanted bacteria and keep virus’ away explains Ricardo. Garlic is also a natural decongestant which alleviates nasal congestion when you’re stuffed up. “Garlic is rich in vitamin C, enzymes and minerals all compounds that contribute to a strong immune system,” Ricardo says. Along with eating raw cloves, the Mississauga nutritionist suggests steeping chopped garlic into your favourite tea. “You can add a bit of natural honey too which soothes the throat and can also cut some of the intense garlic taste,” she says.
Fight acne: Ricardo explains that garlic has anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties that kill and prevent the growth of bacteria on the skin. Garlic is also praised for reducing swelling and inflammation.”It can be used topically by rubbing crushed garlic on affected areas and washing it off with cold water after five minutes, or you can ingest garlic three times a day,” Ricardo says.
Lower blood pressure: Ricardo says the allicin and sulphur content in garlic is also associated with lowering blood pressure. Some research suggests that garlic can relax muscles and dilate blood vessels which improves blood flow and decreases vascular resistance. While some reports suggest that garlic can also prevent heart attacks and strokes, Ricardo says there is not enough evidence to support this claim. “There is promising research concerning the relationship between garlic and blood pressure levels everything else is speculative.”
Reduce Inflammation: Ricardo believes garlic has anti-inflammatory properties which can help with sore muscles and inflamed joints. A U.S. study identified four sulphuric compounds in garlic that helped cut inflammation significantly. “You can rub garlic oil in the affected areas for optimal results but ingesting raw garlic will also help,” she says.
Act as a hair loss treatment: Apparently, garlic improves blood circulation in the scalp which can improve hair loss by strengthening the hair roots. Ricardo explains that sulphur is the main structural component of many amino acids like keratin, which is pretty much what hair is made of. “The stinkier the garlic the better it is for your hair because the strong stench indicates that the garlic has a higher sulphur content,” she says. Garlic also contains other important nutrients like vitamin E, vitamin C, and selenium. All these ingredients contribute to hair growth. “To target specific thinning spots rub a raw clove into the affected area, wait about an hour and massage the same spots with some olive oil. Put a sleeping cap on and wash your hair in the morning.,” Ricardo says.”
Selma reminds us of the importance of eating garlic raw rather than cooked. She says temperatures above 60 degrees Celsius destroy the allicin in garlic. “If you wish to add it to a meal, add it at the very end once you’ve removed whatever you’re cooking from the stove.”
What about a garlic pill instead?
We all know that garlic’s health benefits all stem from allicin and Ricardo says allicin is only released by chewing or mincing the herb. “It’s challenging to get the same allicin levels from a garlic pill,” she says.
What about bad garlic breath?
Eating raw garlic can give you bad breath for maybe up to two days.
Even if you brush your teeth after eating it, garlic compounds make their way into your lungs sabotaging your breath from there.
Selma says eating certain foods after consuming garlic will help neutralize the odour, even from your lungs. “Lettuce, apples and chewing mint leaves will help, I’ve also heard that lemon juice and green tea may also reduce your garlic breath.”
I have never been turned off from eating raw garlic, it love the taste and it makes a great garnish and Selma agrees. “It’s quite flavourful, and knowing that it’s improving our health is an added bonus too,” she says.
I apologize to my boyfriend in advance for all of the garlic I’m going to eat.