Loving the BITE: Why Cyclists Should Eat Raw Garlic
Vampires. Of course, the primary reason cyclists should eat raw garlic is vampires. But aside from those long-fanged blood-suckers, there are a few other secondary reasons to eat it.
This week, we’ve got one of my favorite fresh, whole garlic recipes, and what a bit of raw garlic can do for you on and off the bike:
Loving the BITE: Fresh Pickled Garlic
- whole garlic cloves, peeled*
- 1/4 red bell pepper, diced
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp whole pepper corns
- pinch dried oregano
- pinch red pepper flakes
- pinch sea salt
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- vinegar (I’ve used white)
Place garlic cloves, red bell pepper, and the rest of the ingredients, through sea salt, in a 16 oz. mason jar or container. Add olive oil. Fill jar with vinegar until full. Place in refrigerator for at least 3 weeks.
Eat raw, on salads, added to sautes, etc.
Go ahead and ride at night. No worries about vampires.
Garlic smells, looks, and grows like it just *is* healthy for us, am-i right? Sort of like asparagus and broccoli. One look, one smell, one taste, and you’re sure you’re getting healthier. Here’s what that wonderful garlic flavor is doing inside your body:
First, cardiovascular protection: Garlic is able to lower our blood triglycerides and total cholesterol, at least moderately. What’s more, it’s highly anti-inflammatory and highly anti-oxidant, which means less damage to blood vessel cells (where plaques get lodged and do damage), less oxidative stress, and more healing. Garlic has vast set of sulfur-containinng compounds that reduce both oxidative stress and inflammation, and these work to protect our heart, our vessels, and our cells.
Next, antibacterial and antiviral benefits: These benefits can reduce infections in our mouths, throats, stomachs, and GI tracts (including yeast overgrowth).
Third, cancer prevention. Like many other fruits and vegetables, allium vegetables (including garlic), have strong anti-cancer properties. In longitudinal studies, high intake of garlic is associated with reduced amounts of almost all cancers, (except breast and prostate, interestingly). In fact, it’s the sulfides (once again) that likely play the largest role in anti-cancer prevention. These sulfurs activate a molecule in cells that triggers many metabolic activities, including programmed cell death, in the cell nucleus when something’s gone array (such as overgrowth in the case of cancer and tumors).
Why raw? When it comes to vegetables, cooking is tricky. Some nutrients become more bio-available (well-absorbed) when cooked and some are destroyed. In the case of garlic, the less heat the better. In fact, it’s those wonderful sulfur compounds that are reduced with heat. So, eat raw when you can. Add to the end of cooking time when possible, rather than earlier on. And, try to heat no higher than 350 def F.
My other favorite raw garlic recipes:
Again, the primary reason is vampires. Secondarily, increase garlic in your diet to reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and cell detox while increasing cancer prevention and antibacterial/viral action in your gut. Really it’s a win/win either way.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.
If you’d like to work with Kelli one-on-one with a Custom Nutrition Plan & Coaching, or download one of her acclaimed Instant Download Plans like Fuel Right Race Light, click here: Apex Nutrition Plans for Endurance Athletes. Be sure to use coupon code lovingthebike for a 15% discount!