Garlic is best used raw for microbial properties, although cooked garlic still has a lot of value. In fact, the antioxidant value is equal (or sometimes even higher) when cooked, which is counter intuitive because for most foods, cooking tends to decrease nutritional content.
You can add raw garlic to recipes that are sautéed, roasted or baked. You can also toss some raw garlic into your next homemade salad dressing, marinade, tomato sauce, soup or stew to get all these wonderful garlic benefits. Adding raw garlic to any vegetable, fish or meat is sure to intensify the flavor and health benefits.
Whether you’re ultimately using garlic raw or cooked, you can up the garlic benefits by chopping or crushing it and letting it sit before eating it or heating it for a recipe. The chopping activates alliinase enzymes in the garlic’s cells, and the sitting allows these enzymes to convert some of the garlic’s allin into allicin. Allicin then rapidly breaks down to form a variety of organosulfur compounds. Scientists suggest allowing garlic to stand for 10 minutes after chopping or crushing before cooking it.
Traditional cultures that don’t typically struggle with these types of diseases receive regular intake of garlic in their diets and don’t require medical interventions because heart disease, cancer and inflammatory-based illnesses are easily preventable when eating the right foods.
For general health promotion for adults, the World Health Organization recommends a daily dose of two to five grams (about one clove) of fresh garlic, 0.4 to 1.2 grams of dried garlic powder, two to five milligrams of garlic oil, 300 to 1,000 milligrams of garlic extract, or other formulations that are equal to two to five milligrams of allicin. (19)
Garlic is best stored at room temperature and should always be kept dry (to prevent it from sprouting).