In response to my Care2 post #1 Anticancer Vegetable, there was a great question about whether it’s better to eat garlic raw or cooked. It appears the secret to maintaining the anti-cancer effects of garlic is either to eat it raw (think salsa, homemade dressings, pesto, etc), or to crush the garlic first, wait ten minutes, and then cook it.
Let me explain: you know those chemical flares? You bend them, two chemicals mix, and a light-emitting reaction takes place? The same kind of thing happens in garlic. Floating around in the cytoplasm of garlic cells is a compound called alliin, and packed away in tiny intracellular storage compartments (called vacuoles) is an enzyme called alliinase. When the garlic tissues are crushed, the two mix and the alliinase enzyme turns alliin into allicin, the phytonutrient thought to be responsible for many of garlic’s health benefits