Can You Eat Raw Garlic - And Why Would You?

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Can you eat raw garlic? When I was a small child (well a child), my mother used to give us raw chopped garlic mixed with honey on toast in the winter months. While it didn't compete with Nutella it did help us through the colder season. But why would she think to use raw garlic in winter?

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Raw Garlic vs Cooked

What's the difference between raw garlic and cooked garlic? Interestingly, some fruits and vegetables are better for you when they’re cooked as the vitamins and minerals are more accessible when they have been heated. For others (including garlic) it is best to eat it raw.  


Benefits Of Raw Garlic

Raw garlic provides B6 and niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin (B2) and thiamine. The B vitamins in garlic help you access your energy from your food. Having garlic fresh also contains vitamin C (which is heat sensitive and can be lost when the garlic is heated). Raw garlic also contains vitamin K, which supports blood coagulation so makes it helpful for heart and circulation health, plus essential minerals like zinc, copper and manganese. 

Raw garlic has a higher amount of the water soluble vitamins (B and C) as well as allicin. Allicin is the compound that gives garlic it’s well known smell as well as its health benefits. When you chop or crush garlic it activates the allicin enzymes and releases this phytonutrient for you to absorb.

By having garlic raw (and crushed if possible) it can help support your cardiovascular and immune system. Garlic has been studied extensively over the years to try and work out why it is so beneficial for your body, a 2013 review showed that garlic has great potential for chronic inflammatory diseases and inflammation of the cardiovascular system.



Some Recipe Ideas For Raw Garlic

  • On toast with butter - a garlic bread version but with raw crushed garlic.
  • Guacamole - add crushed raw garlic and have it with corn chips
  • As mentioned above crushed with manuka honey on toast for the winter months
  • On steamed vegetables


How To Get Rid Of Garlic Breath

So, while we've established that you can eat raw garlic and it's actually really good for you, there's still one problem. Garlic breath. The good news however is that you can use other plants to help mitigate the garlic odour.

  • Parsley. This mighty plant can help with neutralising onions and garlic. You could add it into your salads, dressings or pestos. Or have a piece to chew after the raw garlic
  • Plants like basil, thyme, coriander, mint and parsley all have plant chemicals like chlorophyll and polyphenols which bind to the sulphur compounds found in garlic and help to neutralize odour
  • Our versatile  Defence Throat Spray can also be used as a breath freshener. It has thyme, peppermint, clove and kawakawa in it and is convenient enough to have in your bag, car or at your desk


While we have touched on why eating raw garlic is helpful, cooked garlic is still something worth incorporating into your diet if you can’t bring yourself to eat raw garlic just yet. If possible - try to find local, spray free garlic. 

Do you have any other ways to use raw garlic? A friend of ours swallows whole raw cloves when he feels a little sick - that is commitment.



1 comment

  • Posted on by Donna Dalzell
    Love this advice and although I’m already doing some of it it’s great to be reminded of the benefits!

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