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Food, Herbs and Health

Updated on May 15, 2020
James Mwachia profile image

James is a food enthusiast who's interest is bent more on the medicinal value food offers.


Garlic and health

Garlic is one of the spices that make food delicious. It has a characteristic aroma that can make your stomach rumble; whether you are full or not. Now, apart from being a special ingredient, garlic has been known to have medicinal values. I have used garlic to help when I face some issues and to speak the truth, it never disappointed.

The first remarkable thing about garlic is that it strengthens your teeth and gums. If even after brushing your teeth your mouth still produces that awful smell, try chewing raw garlic. Apart from doing away with the bad odor from your mouth, garlic would also kill any bacteria in your mouth.

Mortar and Pestle
Mortar and Pestle
Garlic Press
Garlic Press

Preparing the Garlic

Garlic is usually a bunch of cloves held together. First, you peel off the thin outer layer, and you are left with individual cloves held together at the base. Each clove has a semi-hard covering layer that is removable. Crushed garlic is more effective than uncrushed ones. This is because when crushed, garlic produces a compound called allicin. Allicin is known to have medicinal benefits like being an antioxidant and also helps reduce inflammation. Furthermore, allicin contains proteins and vitamins like vitamin b12. It also contains very vital minerals, which are magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, sodium, phosphorous, and zinc.

The best and effective ways to crush the garlic is by using a mortar and pestle (first image above). There is also a tool that has been specifically designed for crushing garlic. The garlic press (second image above) also helps you to press your garlic cloves into minced garlic. All you have to do is put your garlic cloves into the device and press.

Minced garlic
Minced garlic

How to Consume the Garlic

After successfully crushing or mincing your garlic, it is time you take it. It is known to have a sharp burning sensation when taken raw. Because of this, you have to find a way of minimizing this sensation. There are several ways of comfortably taking the garlic. The easiest among them is mixing it with your salad. This way, you will bypass the sharp taste and even the characteristic garlic smell. You can also take with your toast. How? Mix the garlic with butter and spread it on the toast. You are guaranteed not to taste that sharp sensation on your tongue or mouth as you would when taking it on its own.

How to Not Consume Garlic

Although some people suggest consuming the garlic clove whole, there are dangers associated with this. The clove is too big for your esophagus to accommodate. This then poses a health risk as the clove can either choke you or cause an internal injury to your esophagus. If you cannot crush or mince it, you should cut it into smaller pieces that can easily be swallowed. cutting the clove into smaller pieces also makes it easy for your digestive system to break it down and access the nutrients and minerals.

Furthermore, allicin, which is the most important compound in garlic, is released when garlic is crushed. Swallowing the clove whole would deprive you of the medicinal value of garlic.

Allicin in Garlic and its Benefits

Garlic contains an amino acid known as Alliin, and when crushed, it produces an enzyme called Alliinase. The two react to form Allicin. Allicin has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. For treatment purposes, garlic can be taken orally or applied directly to the affected area. With the aid of allicin, garlic can be used to effectively combat the flu. Furthermore, allicin is known to boost immunity and reduce blood pressure.

Garlic with half of its cloves still intact
Garlic with half of its cloves still intact

Daily Garlic Intake Limit

Although some researchers recommend up to four cloves per day, two cloves are enough to give you the supplements you need. This is because too much garlic can upset your stomach and cause you bloating. Some people are allergic to garlic. If you find out you are among such people, you should refrain from using the garlic. Apart from being taken raw, garlic is a good ingredient when added to your cooking. Although it looks simple, garlic holds more value than meets the eye!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 James Mwachia


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