What Are The Benefits Of Eating Raw Garlic?

Packed with flavor, garlic is one of those condiments that goes on just about everything and is packed with medicinal properties, a real deal win-win situation for food lovers. But most dishes cook the garlic, be it baked into a pizza, sautéed into a sauce, roasted with a meat dish, or stuffed into a casserole. So does eating garlic raw still have the same health benefits as its cooked form?

In fact, you get the most benefit from eating garlic in its raw form, according to dietitian Laura Jeffers, MEd, RD, LD (via WebMD). The herb-like vegetable in raw form has powerful anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and heart-protecting properties. It can be used as a DIY remedy to treat fungal infections and improve your skin by killing acne-causing bacteria. The reason for this may have to do with a property in garlic that works wonders, especially when not cooked, per WebMD.

Raw garlic is better for you than cooked garlic

Allicin is a substance found in garlic that you may have seen yourself if you've sliced open raw garlic or crushed it in a press. It is responsible for much of garlic's distinctively strong smell and flavor, given its antioxidant properties (via Science Daily). Allicin antioxidant produces the lion's share of garlic's beneficial health effects. A 2009 study published in the journal Angewandte Chemie found that allicin, when decomposing, produced an acid that fights free radicals, linking it to garlic's medicinal benefits (via Science Daily).

A 2013 study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology showed that short-term heating of garlic reduced its concentration of allicin, which resulted in a lowered ability to produce anti-inflammatory effects in cells. Raw garlic is a potent, functional superfood, but make sure you chop or chew it, as this is what properly catalyzes the formation of allicin, per the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.