Garlic is thought to have a lot of potential health effects, it is rich in antioxidants and compounds with powerful antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact garlic has been used since ancient times for its flavour and possible therapeutic effects, for example in Chinese medicine. Studies are still trying to understand better the mechanism of action of garlic metabolites.
One of garlic’s magic compound is called allicin, and this is what gives garlic its distinctive smell and taste. When garlic is chewed (raw), chopped, crushed or minced, a heat sensitive enzyme called alliinase will transform the protein alliin into allicin. Allicin has an antimicrobial activity and helps regulate the immune function.
The 10 minute garlic rule
To get the most of your garlic, you want to increase its allicin content. And there is a very simple way to do so: crush, mince, slice your garlic 5 to 10 minutes before cooking it. You can then add it to your tomato sauce, stir fry etc.