It is no surprise that garlic contains a wide variety of beneficial enzymes and compounds.
Did you know, though, that you are cheating yourself out of these if you throw freshly chopped garlic into a stir fry?
A study conducted by Claudio Galmarini and colleagues in Argentina and the United States (published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry last year) looked into alliinase, an enzyme in garlic that "catalyzes the formation of allicin, which then breaks down to form a variety of healthful organosulfur compounds."
Allicin, by the way, has been linked to decreased rates of both stomach and colon cancer.
Here's the catch -- heat renders alliinase useless.
That doesn't, however, necessarily mean raw garlic is the only way to capture all the health benefits.
Galmarini and his team found that "allowing crushed garlic to stand for 10 minutes before cooking may further enhance formation of [allicin] before heat inactivates alliinase."