Preparing Garlic to Help Promote Health Benefits

Recent scientific research tells us that slicing, chopping, mincing or pressing garlic before cooking can enhance the health-promoting properties of garlic. Garlic is rich in a wide variety of sulfur-containing compounds. One of the best studied is a compound called alliin. Alliin and a related enzyme (named "alliinase") are present but separated inside certain garlic cells when the garlic is whole and unbroken. But when garlic is cut, chewed, chopped, or crushed, these cells can rupture. When they do, the aliinase enzyme can come into contact with the alliin molecule and cause the creation of a new compound called allicin. Allicin can be a very valuable garlic molecule in terms of its health benefits, because its intake has been associated with cardiovascular, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancer benefits. Allicin is also one of the garlic compounds that contributes to the pungent aroma and "bite" we experience from garlic. Chopping, mincing, crushing, or pressing garlic and allowing it to sit for 5-10 minutes can help provide enough time for the alliinase and alliin in garlic to interact and form allicin.

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