How To Use Garlic Preserving Its Anti-Cancer Effects?

Anticancer Effects of Raw vs Cooked Garlic and Onion

Image Credit: Danielle Scott / Flickr


Garlic has a range of potential health benefits, and ranks among the top vegetables in reducing cancer risk.


Does Garlic Prevent Cancer?

As I discuss in my video #1 Anticancer Vegetable, garlic has been shown to completely stop cancer growth in seven out of the eight tumor lines. It’s the #1 vegetable to fight the following cancers:

  • Breast cancer
  • Brain tumors
  • Kidney cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Childhood brain tumors
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Stomach cancer


How Does Garlic Fight Cancer?

Eat one big clove’s worth of crushed raw garlic, and within hours you get an alteration of the expression of your genes related to anti-cancer immunity. It’s one thing to see a big boost in the production of cancer-suppressing proteins like oncostatin when you drip garlic directly on cells in a petri dish, but you also see boosted gene expression directly in your bloodstream within hours of eating it. I go into more detail on this in my video Benefits of Garlic for Fighting Cancer and the Common Cold.


Can “Too Much” Garlic Be Harmful?

The garlic meta-analysis suggests there’s no real safety concerns with side effects or overdosing, though that’s with internal use. You should not stick crushed garlic on your skin. It can cause irritation and if left on long enough, can actually burn you.


How To Use Garlic Preserving The Anti-Cancer Effects?

The secret to maintaining the anti-cancer effects of garlic is to either eat it raw (think salsa, homemade dressings, pesto, etc) or crush the garlic first, wait 10 minutes, and then cook it.

You know those chemical flares? You bend them, two chemicals mix and a light-emitting reaction takes place? The same kind of thing happens in garlic. Floating around in the cytoplasm of garlic cells is a compound called alliin and packed away in tiny intracellular storage compartments (called vacuoles) is an enzyme called alliinase. When the garlic tissues are crushed, the two mix and alliinase turns alliin into allicin, the phytonutrient thought to be responsible for many of garlic’s health benefits. Cooking destroys the enzyme, though, so even if you crush your garlic, if it’s thrown immediately into the pan, little allicin may be produced.

Allicin is relatively heat stable, though, so if you chop your garlic and wait 10 minutes for the allicin to be formed, you can then cook it (the enzyme has already done its work) and presumably maintain many of the benefits.

A similar reaction happens in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli! Check out my videos The Best Detox and Sometimes the Enzyme Myth Is True.


Need some ideas to include more garlic in your diet? Check out our Veggie Mac & Cheese, and Fresh Guacamole recipes.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This