Of all the foods that make up the raw food diet, garlic is one of the most important from a health perspective. Many people turn their noses up at the pungent little bulbs, believing that the resulting bad breath is so anti-social that they would rather forgo the health benefits.

garlicThis is a real shame, because those little cloves pack an amazing nutritional punch as well as being great blood cleansers and immune system boosters. Let's take a closer look at this amazing vegetable and how you can use it to you benefit.

Blood Cleanser

If you suffer from high levels of bad LDL cholesterol, then garlic can come to the rescue. The active ingredient, which is the sulfur compound allicin, acts to clean up the excess HDL cholesterol in the blood, actually lowering levels and improving circulation as a result.

Immune System Booster

Eating raw garlic as a regular part of your diet will boost the effectiveness of your immune system. It will help you ward off colds and flu while all around you are dropping like flies. It will help prevent bacterial infections from taking hold and is one of the few foods that also helps your body to fight off viral infections. This is because garlic's properties make it an excellent natural antibiotic, antiviral and anti fungal. You can even use it topically on wounds to help prevent infection.

Metabolism Booster

Eating garlic in your food also has a tendency to raise your metabolism slightly, which is another correlation between raw food and weight loss. When combined with ginger and chili, as in many Asian dishes, that combination raises the body temperature making it use more energy to try and maintain its correct temperature. This means you are burning more calories just by sitting there eating a tasty meal. Just make sure that meal isn't full of hidden high calorie ingredients such as cream, ghee or butter!

Preparing Garlic

The best way to eat this bulb is chopped raw, making it the perfect ingredient for many raw food dishes. You should never crush the bulb in a crusher as this destroys many of the delicate long chains of its healthy constituents. Fine chop the cloves with a sharp knife and then sprinkle on food just before serving up. Cooking garlic destroys many of its healthy properties ,so this should be avoided. Also, make sure you peel the cloves that you are going to use at the last possible moment as those healthy properties start breaking down as soon as the clove is peeled.

The Pungent Odor

If you ever walked into a room where someone had been who had eaten garlic and you had not eaten any yourself, you will immediately be assaulted by the pungent odor. Yet if you had eaten a little yourself and walked into the same room, you would not notice the odor at all! This is a trait of this small member of the onion family and is evident in other kinds of onion too.

The best way to make the pungent food more sociable is for more people to eat it! This is the norm in many countries around the world from Southern Europe, Asia and the Middle East, China and the Far East, to Africa, Central and South America and the Caribbean, but unfortunately the US, UK and other English speaking countries have in the main lost touch with this powerfully nutritious and health giving food.

You have to decide if your health is more important than what other people think of your breath. Remember, if garlic can help you enjoy better health and prolong your life because of it, is that not more important to you than the screwed up faces and turned up noses of the culinary unenlightened?