Other than humble: in reality they are the "kings" of healthy eating garlic and onion are considered among the foods with the greatest anticancer power. But only if you use them well. Here are 3 ways to take full advantage of its beneficial properties
They are the "parsley" of Italian cuisine because they give aroma and flavors to many recipes, traditional or contemporary. Some adore them for their intense and persistent aroma and those who, precisely, for this reason, hate them. But how many of us know that garlic and onion are real "superfoods"? Yet it is so.
These humble bulbs are among the foods with the greatest health properties, thanks to their high content of substances with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, such as polyphenols. But above all, they stand out for their ability to help prevent many cancers, especially of the head, nose, throat, and gastrointestinal tract.
The antitumor action of garlic and onion is due to their sulfurous compounds, those substances which determine their characteristic odor. These precious compounds, therefore, must be protected if you want them to affect. And how? The answer is provided by some studies that have verified the bioavailability of these beneficial substances and revealed that, often, very few arrive on our plate. But all is not lost, especially if garlic and onion are chosen, cooked, and consumed in the right way.
The good is in their aroma
The strengths of garlic and onion lie in the more than 200 volatile components that give them smell and taste and have a common matrix: sulfur. These compounds are divided into two large families: those fat-soluble (that is, which dissolve in fats), which seem able to inhibit the formation of tumors, and those that are water-soluble (that is, which dissolve in water), which have antioxidant and detoxifying properties.
This is why garlic and onion "work" on two fronts simultaneously: they provide molecules that block the formation of substances (such as nitrosamines), which cause genetic alterations and, therefore, predispose to cancer, and also remove the enzymes and metabolites that participate in the formation and the proliferation of cancer cells. They are also effective in fighting Helicobacter pylori, which causes inflammation related to stomach cancer and has a beneficial role in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
Step # 1: not all are equally beneficial
To take advantage of their anticancer powder, garlic and onion must be bought from the greengrocer and not from the pharmacy because remember the Airc, only fresh bulbs have anti-cancer properties. On the other hand, garlic and onion-based supplements contain only the precursors of these beneficial molecules but not the enzymes necessary to transform and "activate" them in the human body.
It is equally important to do the right shopping: to prefer the varieties and types with the most intense flavor, that is, richer in sulfur compounds. Even better if they are colored, because it also means that they also provide more antioxidants, such as flavonoids.
Step # 2: better raw
The second step to getting the best from garlic and onion is "not cooking them," which is to consume them raw because cooking (especially if prolonged) significantly reduces the available quantity of anticancer compounds. The ideal varieties of onions to eat raw are the sweet ones (such as the red onion from Tropea and Cannara) and the spring onion, which is the young onion harvested before it becomes completely ripe. For garlic green light, therefore, to the classic bruschetta or to add it raw to recipes. Does raw garlic not go down well? Try rubbing a clove of it on the sides of the salad bowl to soften the aroma, or add a little fresh ginger, which helps digestion.
If you really have to cook them, it is better to do it for a short time: the onions should be removed from the heat as soon as they are golden and when they are still "al dente," that is still firm and fragrant, and retain all their wealth of inulin, fiber is known for its prebiotic action, mildly laxative and capable of normalizing the intestinal flora.
Step # 3: go knife
The third healthy "trick" consists of breaking or finely shredding the garlic (even in the mouth, chewing it well). In this way, aligns are activated, which gives rise to allicin, which gives garlic its pungent aroma. Yeah, but how do we put it with the breath? To avoid any problems, close the meal by chewing a grain of cardamom, anise, or fennel to mask the pungent smell of allicin with a stronger aroma.