A rose is a rose is a rose. Unless it’s a stinky rose. Then it’s very good for your health!

In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, it’s garlic. People have used it for centuries to stay healthy, and for good reason.

Why You Should Be Eating Garlic and other Alliums Garlic and its pungent cousins, the other members of the allium family — onions, chives, leeks, scallions, and shallots — are some of the healthiest superfoods you can eat. You should be eating as many as you can every day!

Alliums contain many health-boosting nutrients, including antioxidants, polyphenols, fiber, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and much more.

If you want to supercharge your immune system, allium veggies are a huge help. Of course, they go hand in hand with my Micronized Purple Rice, which helps healthful nutrients to be absorbed better.

Just like the cruciferous veggies I talked about last week, the sulfur-containing compounds in alliums are the main reason these powerful plants are so good for us. They are also what gives them their characteristic flavor and aroma.

Use as many organic allium varieties as you can find: yellow/white/red onions, or different types of garlic (such as Russian red, for instance, which has a strong flavor with a sweet aftertaste).

If you’re a gardener, so much the better! There are all kinds of alliums to grow. Experiment with them until you find your favorites.

One thing people often wonder about is whether alliums are better cooked or raw. The answer to that is that they are better raw, or very lightly cooked. There are still health benefits if you cook them, but to get the most benefit out of the sulfur compounds, they should be raw or lightly cooked.

Here are 5 delicious ways to incorporate raw or nearly raw alliums into your diet:

1. Guacamole 

Why You Should Be Eating Garlic and other Alliums I love to put raw garlic into my homemade guacamole. Avocados are among the healthiest foods you can eat, and when you pair them with raw garlic and fresh raw lemon juice, it makes for an unbeatable combo.

Consuming fat with raw garlic helps to keep it from upsetting your stomach. I’ve found you can put as many as five cloves of raw garlic in with one large avocado without it being too overpowering. Mash it up with a little Himalayan pink salt, the juice of one lemon, and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper, and you’re done! (Or add chopped fresh cilantro, tomato, or whatever suits your fancy.)

And then I like to dip using organic sweet potato chips or celery sticks.

2. Fresh salsa 

This is a great way to get in some raw garlic and onions. Just mix raw garlic and chopped red onions with fresh raw tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, sea salt, and pepper. Add some olive oil to make it easier on your stomach.

Of course, there are many other ways to make salsa besides using tomatoes. You can make it with mangoes, watermelon, strawberries, black beans and corn, or any number of combos. Look online for recipes. Or boldly experiment on your own!

3. Garlic “sauerkraut”

Raw garlic can be hard on your stomach, but you might not want to always include fat to compensate. In that case, you might want to try making a raw garlic ferment. This adds the super healthful benefits of probiotics (healthy bacteria) to the mix, while retaining all the raw goodness without upsetting your stomach or adding fat. 

Fermented garlic has a soft, buttery texture and is more complex flavor-wise than plain raw garlic. It’s wonderful in salad dressings and marinades. It will keep for quite a while in the fridge, which makes it a handy way to add taste and flavor — in addition to the super health benefits — to your foods daily.

Making a raw garlic ferment couldn’t be easier. It’s basically a matter of adding whole peeled cloves of raw organic garlic to brine and letting it set.  Find out more HERE.  

4. Lentil stew 

Lentils are another super-healthy choice, and I like to slow cook them overnight in a crockpot. First put a half cup or so of orange or brown lentils into the crockpot. Next, finely chop up hearty veggies (so they fit into the crockpot better) such as yams, tomatoes, carrots, and mushrooms, then add a little grass-fed butter. Chop up some raw ginger and turmeric and add as many fresh or dried herbs as you like — things like sage, dill, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, etc. Spices such as these are nutritional powerhouses too, and impart a lot of health benefits.

Then fill the crockpot up to about an inch from the top with organic mushroom broth or bone broth (many health benefits). Turn the crockpot to high for a couple hours, then when you go to bed, turn it to low and let it cook for 12 hours or so. This blends all the flavors.

Last but not least, throw in finely minced alliums at the end. Leeks, garlic, and shallots are particularly delicious in lentil stew, but any alliums will do. Add them to the stew about 10 minutes before serving.

This makes excellent leftovers, too! You can either eat them over the next couple days, or freeze for future meals.

5. Salad dressing 

Putting raw alliums into your salad dressings is a great way to incorporate them into your diet.

You can make a healthy homemade ranch dressing using high-quality plain organic kefir or yogurt as a base. Add minced garlic, chives, or shallots (or all three!) and olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Blend on medium for 20 seconds or so, then add some chopped fresh parsley. Delicious!

Minced alliums are great in vinaigrettes, too. Experiment, and have fun!

And there you have it! Raw or very lightly cooked alliums are not only extremely good for you, but they also add a gourmet touch to your meals!

What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate raw or lightly cooked alliums into your diet? Let me know in the comments below.