Raw Garlic Benefits
Raw garlic benefits include positive effects on heart health, lowered blood pressure, reduced clotting of the blood, increased resistance to colds and flu, congestion relieving effects and lowered cholesterol. Constituents of garlic that contribute to these benefits are destroyed in the cooking process, and eating garlic raw is the best way to gain the most benefits from this versatile herb.
Garlic is a species of onion plant known as Allium sativum. The bulb of the garlic plant is the part of the plant that is commonly ingested for health benefits, and each bulb can be separated into garlic clove sections. Raw garlic may either be sliced into tiny pieces with a knife, or a garlic press may be used to crush the cloves and mixed with food for easy ingestion.
Heart and Blood Pressure Health
Eating raw garlic is beneficial to heart health and regulating blood pressure. An ingredient in raw garlic, hydrogen sulfide, has effects on blood vessels that cause the vessels to relax; this beneficial effect can help to lower blood pressure and decrease the workload on an overburdened heart. Garlic may also reduce blood clots in the body, which may harm or increase stress to the heart.
Resistance to Cold and Flu
Raw garlic is an extremely strong antiviral and antibacterial substance, and this beneficial plant is very useful for warding off the common cold or flu. Recommendations for raw garlic use to avoid colds include eating several garlic cloves throughout the day as soon as cold symptoms appear. Persons who are suffering from congestion cold symptoms may experience relief if they inhale the fumes of raw crushed garlic or if they drink a broth of raw garlic steeped in hot water.
Consistent ingestion of raw garlic may help to lower raised cholesterol levels or to keep normal cholesterol levels in check. Some of the compounds in garlic that are believed to function much like prescription statins (though to a much lesser effect) are various types of cysteines, which may interfere with the formation of cholesterol in the body.
Cautions and Considerations
Garlic is an extremely powerful and strong herbal plant. Persons interested in eating raw garlic should consume small amounts of raw garlic at first (no more than half of a small clove in a 24-hour period) to assess the effects of garlic on their system. Gas and bad breath are frequent side effects of raw garlic ingestion; bad breath may be avoided by chewing gum or fresh mint herbs, and eating fennel seeds along with the raw garlic can help to reduce intestinal gas.