4 Alternatives to raw garlic (And 4 reasons to grow garlic in your home garden)
01/22/2021 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
4 Alternatives to raw garlic (And 4 reasons to grow garlic in your home garden)

Garlic isn’t just a flavorful ingredient, it’s also an incredible superfood, with many benefits such as boosting heart health and lowering cholesterol.

If you don’t have raw garlic at home, don’t fret. You can use natural alternatives such as cooked garlic, garlic extracts, powdered garlic pills, or even garlic juice!

The health benefits of allicin

Crushing or chopping garlic produces the compound allicin. The compound helps reduce inflammation and it also has antioxidant benefits.

Fresh garlic contains alliin, an amino acid. Crushing or chopping a garlic clove releases the enzyme alliinase. Both of these interact to form allicin, a compound considered the major biologically active component of garlic.

Taking garlic can help prevent some health problems like heart disease. Studies have found that garlic also offers the following benefits:

  • Cholesterol – In a 2013 updated meta-analysis of research, scientists discovered that compounds in garlic can help reduce total cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol when taken for at least two months. The garlic compounds were also linked to a 38 percent reduction in the risk of coronary events in people aged 50.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) – According to a study, allicin can help regulate blood pressure. The compound may even be as effective as medication for treating high blood pressure. In a 2013 clinical trial in Pakistan, scientists gave 210 patients with hypertension between 300 mg and 1,500 mg garlic tablets, a placebo, or the beta-blocker atenolol. The volunteers who received the garlic tablets showed clinically significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to people from the placebo and atenolol groups, confirming earlier animal studies on allicin’s blood pressure-lowering properties.
  • Muscle soreness – Another study suggests that allicin can help relieve exercise-related muscle damage. Researchers gave athletes either allicin supplements or a placebo for two weeks before and two days after a treadmill-based workout. Findings showed that the volunteers who received allicin experienced less muscle soreness after the workout unlike those who received the placebo.

Allicin supplements are also sometimes used to enhance exercise performance.

Alternatives to raw garlic

Taking raw garlic can help prevent a specific infection or stop illness in its tracks. If you don’t have raw garlic at home, below are four alternatives to try instead.

Cooked garlic

Cooking garlic affects its potency and allicin benefits are diminished to some extent. The good thing is, heat can help boost the antioxidant benefits of cooked garlic.

According to studies, setting chopped or minced garlic aside for around 10 minutes before cooking helps retain more of its active properties and allows the allicin to activate after cooking.

Garlic extracts

If consuming raw garlic isn’t an option, try taking concentrated garlic extractions.

There are different production methods used for garlic extractions, such as:

  • Aged garlic extractions, which are made using a 20-month process to mellow the volatile compounds.
  • Mixing powders into vegetable oil.
  • Placing crushed, raw garlic in oil.
  • Steam distillation.

These extracts are usually put in capsules to make them easy to ingest. The capsules also protect the extracted liquid from the acidic environment in your stomach so they can reach the small intestine intact.

Powdered garlic pills

Powdered garlic pills use whole garlic that’s dried and ground to a fine powder. The garlic powder is then placed in a capsule made from a polymer that can withstand the acidic environment of your stomach. Alternatively, garlic is compressed into a tablet and then enteric-coated.

Garlic pills are a dried product and they don’t contain allicin.

The allicin reaction only happens when the pill is in the small intestine and is rehydrated with water. This means many garlic pill supplements include a measurement of “allicin potential” on their label to help users determine the relative potency of their product.

Garlic juice

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), garlic juice is the least stable form of garlic and must be used promptly. If you prefer this option, it’s better to make garlic juice at home and use it immediately.

Below are the suggested dosages for safe daily use of garlic supplements or extracts:

  • Dried powder – 0.4 to 1.2 grams
  • Fresh garlic – Two to five grams taken with food to prevent an upset stomach.
  • Garlic oil – Two to five milligrams
  • Garlic extract – 300 to 1000 milligrams
  • Other preparations – Take doses that correspond to four to 12 milligrams of alliin or about two to five milligrams of allicin.

Consider these garlic options if you don’t have time to cook or if you don’t like the taste or smell of fresh, raw garlic.

4 Reasons to grow garlic at home

Garlic is good for your heart health. You should also grow garlic in your home garden because it’s cheaper than buying it from the grocery store!

It’s cheap and cost-effective

One bulb of seed garlic has 10 to 15 cloves, depending on the variety. A bulb costs around $12 to $15 per 8 ounces and you can keep the best garden producers and re-plant them next year.

There are different garlic varieties for your culinary needs

Did you know that there are several garlic varieties with incredible flavors?

  • German Red Garlic is “full-bodied, strong and spicy.”
  • Italian Late garlic is pungent.
  • Metechi is or robust.
  • St. Helen’s Red garlic is rather spicy.
  • Vietnamese Red is mildly spicy.

It’s easy to grow garlic in a small garden

To grow garlic, prepare a garden bed for each type or plant them as space allows.

Garlic bulbs will grow well in pots and they need 12 inches of well-draining soil. Mark the pots if you’re planting several varieties and if you’re going to replant next year.

Garlic is perfect for home gardening beginners

Garlic is easy to grow if you use the right kind of soil and water it regularly. In most parts of the U.S., you can plant garlic in September or October or at least three weeks before the ground freezes.

Use sandy loam and organic compost to keep the soil light. Fertilize with 10-10-10 and weed it regularly.

Before you start planting, gently break the garlic cloves apart. Refrigerate the smallest cloves and use them for cooking.

It’s best to use the largest outer, cloves since they are the most productive. Plant the garlic cloves one inch deep with the pointed side up and three to five inches apart.

Water garlic moderately throughout the winter but don’t leave standing water around them. During the spring, garlic needs at least an inch of water per week. You can stop watering in summer once the leaves start to turn.

You can harvest garlic in early to late summer when the bottom 1/3 of the leaves start turning yellow. Since this is a rough estimate, you should carefully dig up one bulb and check if the skin has set before digging up all the bulbs. If you skip this step, your bulbs won’t store for long.

For best keeping quality, store garlic bulbs at 32 to 40 F and at 60 to 70 percent relative humidity. When properly cured and stored, garlic should keep for six months or even longer.

If you want to grow garlic, purchase organic garlic bulbs at a local nursery or farm supply store. Ask which varieties are best for your location.

Grow garlic in your home garden or take alternatives like garlic extract and powders to boost your heart health and naturally lower your cholesterol.





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