Nutrition & Dieting/Will I lose nutrients when cooking garlic? Is raw garlic better?
I recently started paying more attention to my diet and decided
to have a clove of raw garlic every day.
I found that eating plain raw garlic can be very difficult, and decided to mix it with my main dishes so I can eat it with ease.
Do the health benefits of raw garlic minimize if I mix it with other foods? ( e.g. chicken, potatoes etc)
Thanks for a super question, Jose!
It is wonderful that you are paying more attention to your diet. Nature provides us with such a rich variety of natural health-protecting and health-stimulating 'tools'. We just have to learn to make smart choices - which is what you are doing by incorporating more garlic into your diet.
If you are just mixing raw garlic with your main dishes, that is fine. You will not really reduce the benefits.
It is not mainly the mixing of garlic with other foods that will cause nutrient losses, but cooking garlic. However, even this can be handled in a way that limits these losses to a large extent.
Here are some tips for protecting the nutrients as much as possible and getting the most from garlic, should you decide to cook with it:
1. Don't microwave garlic if you can help it. Microwaving is more detrimental than ordinary cooking.
2. Don't use the garlic clove whole. Crush the garlic and let it sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before eating it or using it in cooking.
Researchers such as Claudio R. Galmarini and his colleagues in Argentina and the United States have found that this 'waiting time' is likely to trigger the crucial enzymatic process which helps with the formation of allicin.
Allicin is one of the most important sulfur compounds in garlic. With immediate cooking, you may be stopping this enzyme's workings in its tracks! So, by simply waiting for a little while before cooking with the garlic, you will be encouraging the formation of allicin.
3. According to The World's Healthiest Foods, you should also wait before adding something acidic, such as lemon juice. This is for the same reason.
4. Cook garlic only at a lower heat and for a short period. For instance, add it at the end of preparing a dish with garlic, not from the beginning, to reduce the cooking time. The ideal is not to cook it for more than 5 to 10 minutes.
Garlic is also rich in other sulfur compounds and nutrients such as selenium, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin B6.
Possible health benefits of using garlic include:
- Improving cardiovascular health
- Lowering cholesterol
- Possible cancer prevention
- Reducing blood pressure
If you would like to read about 10 other super-foods I make sure to include in my diet regularly, you can get the article here
I hope this answers your question and I wish you the best of health!