Crushed Garlic and Chopped Onions have enhanced health benefits
Many know that garlic and onions are good for you. But did you know that they are even healthier if they are crushed and chopped?
It's true, and I'm not making this up. I saw this in many books.
In the book, The Happiness Diet, it writes...
"Crush or mince garlic cloves to boost the content of allicin, a compound that strengthens immunity." [page 131]
By breaking the garlic's cell walls, it will release and mix various phytochemicals in a chemical reaction to produce allyl sulfur compounds. The sulfur compounds has many health benefits and it accounts for some of garlic anti-cancer properties.
Read more about the benefits of getting enough sulfur in our diet.
These sulfur compounds that are produced are not readily destroyed by heat. However the precursor phytochemicals that produce them are.
So in order to get optimal levels produced, it is best to crush or chop the garlic. Then let stand for 10 minutes for it to produce the sulfur compounds before applying heat.
Chop Onion to enhance its health benefits
Same with onions. They also have sulfur-rich compounds that are activated when chopped. This accounts for the crying effect when chopping onions.
In the book Therapeutic Chef, it writes ...
"Garlic and onions contain allicin, a powerful anti-cancer nutrient. Onions must be chopped, sliced or diced to activate the allicin. Garlic needs to be crushed or pressed. ... They should rest on the cutting board for at least ten minutes if you plan to cook with them."
Joel Fuhrman writes that ...
"these organosulfur compounds in members of the onion family also have anti-inflammatory actions that protect against osteoarthritis and ward off infections. ... those compounds work together with other micronutrietns to improve immune function and to prevent disease. .. the highest consumers of onions had less than half as many cancers compared to people who rarely consumed onions." [page 76 of Super Immunity]
In the book Eating on the Wild Side, it writes ...
"...heating garlic immediately after crushing it or slicing it destroys the heat-sensitive enzyme that triggers the reaction. As a result, no allicin is created. ... You can cook garlic and reap all its benefits if you ... Chop, mince, slice, or mash the garlic and then keep it away from the heat for ten minutes." [page 51]
Allicin is not in the garlic but is produced when two ingredients (alliin and alliinase) in separate compartment of garlic is comingled. alliinase is a heat-sensitive enzyme that is destroyed by cooking. But if you wait 10 minutes for the allicin to be produced, the allicin is not easily destroyed by heat.