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Eating Raw Garlic

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Eating raw garlic may not sound appetizing but tolerating the strong taste may be a small price to pay for all the potential benefits this "wonderfood" provides.

Eating raw garlic may decrease blood pressure, improve circulation, protect against colds and influenza, decrease cholesterol levels, and prevent cancer.

There are a few things you can do to maximize the benefit of eating raw garlic. Crush or slice the herb before eating and allow it to sit for approximately 10 minutes before consumption. This allows the alliin to be converted to allacin. Allicin is the component in garlic thought to confer its beneficial effects.

Eating raw garlic should not be done on an empty stomach as it may cause irritation of the gastrointestinal system as well as gas.

People with a known allergy should avoid eating garlic.

Eating garlic may cause halitosis (bad breath) as well as cause the skin or sweat to smell pungently.

Finally, there is one serious warning about eating raw garlic. Because it is a low pH vegetable, it can support the growth of Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria responsible for botulism. Be sure to store garlic in a cool, dry, well-ventilated space in vented containers. Avoid storing garlic for long periods of time in the refigerator as most home units are too warm. Finally, absolutely avoid storing raw garlic in oil. Raw garlic in oil provides an environment conducive to botulinum growth and toxin production. Also avoid exposure to moisture. The shelf life for garlic is approximately 3 to 5 months when kept in a dark space kept at 60 degrees fahrenheit. Avoid eating raw garlic that appears in any way to be adulterated.

People may eat garlic up to every day or just once in a while when they feel a cold coming on. Avoid eating raw garlic too much to avoid upset stomach and stop eating for at least a week prior to any dental work or surgery as it may inhibit platelets and increase the risk of excessive bleeding.

When done safely, eating raw garlic is a cheap, easy, and beneficial way to boost your health.

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