Garlic may not be exactly good for your breath, but the cooking staple is as bursting with benefits as it is with flavor. Besides being antibacterial, it’s linked to lowering inflammation, regulating blood sugar, lowering blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol. (Honestly, what can’t it do?)
Registered dietitian and gut health expert Amanda Sauceda, RD, says that garlic is also good for your gut. “Garlic is a prebiotic food, which are foods that your gut loves to have,” she says. “Prebiotic foods are actually a fiber and this type of fiber feeds your gut bacteria.” Maintaining a balance of healthy gut bacteria is crucial for both short-term and long-term health, as the gut microbiome plays a role in digestion, immunity, and is even connected to brain health.
Watch the video below to learn more about the health benefits of garlic:
While garlic brings all its benefits to the table however it’s prepared, Sauceda says there’s one easy way to make them even more powerful: mincing it. “When you mince or crush garlic, the enzyme alliinase gets activated and we get the production of allicin,” she explains, adding that this is what gives garlic its anti-inflammatory powers. Allicin is a compound that’s full of antioxidants and linked to lowering inflammation and boosting the immune system—so it’s definitely a benefit worth maximizing, when possible.
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After mincing the garlic, Sauceda says to let it sit for five to 10 minutes before cooking it. “By letting the garlic sit, we are able to build up the allicin,” she says. Since cooking can deactivate the allicin a bit, she says allowing it to sit will minimize the benefits that are lost.
It’s pretty simple to get an extra anti-inflammatory boost from garlic, right? Your breath however…well, you’re on your own for solving that one.
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