Rest Your Garlic
Did you know that according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, you can increase the health benefits from eating garlic just by letting it sit out for about 10-15 minutes after you've chopped or crushed it?
Giving garlic time to "rest" before changing its temperature (by cooking) or its PH (by adding acidic food, such as lemon juice), significantly enhances its health-promoting properties. In fact, this rest time ensures that the garlic will retain up to 70% of its anti-cancer qualities even after heating, according to the institute.
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Ok, so here’s the nerdy stuff.
Garlic is rich in a wide variety of sulfur-containing compounds, and one of the most well researched is a compound called, alliin. Both Alliin and a related enzyme, called alliinase, are present in certain garlic cells, but separated when the garlic is whole and unbroken. Cutting, chopping, crushing, and/or chewing garlic, ruptured these cells and brings the aliinase enzyme in contact with the alliin molecule, causing the creation of a new compound, called allicin, a powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent.
Allicin is one of the compounds that contributes to garlic’s pungent aroma and "bite." It is also super good for you. Its consumption has been linked to cardiovascular, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancer benefits. So when you allow your garlic to "rest" for 10-15 minutes after chopping, mincing, crushing, or pressing it, that is how long it takes for the alliinase and alliin to interact and form allicin. Once that occurs, the process of converting the allicin into anti-cancer compounds such as diallyl sulfide, diallyl disulfide and diallyl trisulfide begins. Alternatively, tossing garlic into a heated pot before this process begins, minimizes the powerful health benefits that garlic can deliver.
So the bottom line is, whenever your recipe calls for garlic, your prep should commence with chopping, crushing or mincing the garlic first and then setting it aside. If you plan on roasting whole garlic, cutting off the bulb before placing it in the oven should be sufficient to set off the chemical reaction.
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