Allicin benefits

Chopped onions in this Irish potato and leek soup recipe.

Allicin benefits are to be found in the onion family, particularly in garlic, but also in leeks.

  1. Bernard Preston
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Bernard Preston updated this page on allicin benefits on 24th August, 2020.

The allium family of vegetables of course add immeasurably to the taste of our food; just as important they have many proven nutritional benefits. Just how they work to prevent metastatic conditions, reduce heart disease and act as an anti-microbial agent is still being researched, but we do not have to wait for these mechanisms to be defined. We can start enjoying them in abundance right now.

Chemically speaking, allicin is an organic compound with two sulphur atoms. That is what gives garlic its pungent smell. It is released as a volatile gas that dissolves in the tears in our eyes, releasing tiny amounts of sulphuric acid which causes the itching and burning.

However, it breaks down very quickly in cooking, so it is best added just before serving.

You can spend quite a lot of money on various powders and capsules, but why not just add garlic and leeks, spring onions and shallots to your food on a daily basis? The taste is simply amazing. Sparkling well-being comes from enjoying these nourishing herbs, not from taking them in tablet form.

Growing leeks and onions is for those with large gardens, but a small patch of shallots and chives is for everyone. Just pluck off a couple green shoots every day for the salad. They have such a wonderful flavour.

They are also a good source of potassium and vitamin C too.

Notice the two sulphur atoms.

The chemical structure of allicin.

Allicin benefits

You might like to read this article in a medical journal which reviews the tumour prevention benefits of allium in certain vegetables but in short they also report anti-microbial and clot formation, lowering of cholesterol, and reducing arthritis and blood sugar; in short a host of beneficial properties. There is not one person reading this who would not benefit from enjoying the onion family daily.

Nevertheless, they admit that the mechanisms by which allicin and other flavonoids in this family work in producing these amazing benefits are still speculative. That need not stop us from enjoying leeks and garlic, spring onions and chives on a daily basis.

I find it very scary that oncologists are now saying it is no longer a question of if you will get a metastatic disease, but when the dreaded lurgy will strike. The suggestion is that almost no one will escape.

Allicin is a very labile substance; it breaks down very quickly when exposed to light and heat. Once extracted from garlic or leeks, it loses its potency within hours.

Growing leeks

Roll on the allicin benefits and, for those with the time and inclination, growing leeks for example is not rocket science.

It took me only an hour yesterday to plant out these leeks. Within a couple months we will be enjoying them on a daily basis.

Newly planted seedlings when growing leeks.

It is now five years since I first planted out those leek seedlings; now there are clumps of them all over the vegetable garden where they also reduce infestation by various bugs.

It is, of course, anecdotal but I strong believe that it is largely because of the protection that flavonoids like allicin bring to our wellness that both my wife and I enjoy a life without medication, despite being over seventy years old.

Yes, gardening and walking also contribute to our physical strength and well-being. Last week we hiked the Whale Trail in South Africa, a distance of forty miles in five days over very rough terrain.

We enjoy allicin benefits every morning in eggs Hilton, our variation of the great Florentine dish. Satiety is the word; it stays with you for the whole day so there is no need to snack at 11 o'clock, and it causes no surge in blood glucose as a more traditional cereal breakfast does, particularly if there is added sugar. That is what makes us insulin resistance and obese. Why is whole grain better is a question you may be asking.

Folk complain of little time to prepare their food in the morning; either we make thirty minutes or so, or we will be spend a lot more hours consulting the oncologist and heart specialist, and taking bucket loads of pills.

Growing leeks two months after planting.


Bioflavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties, hence the interest to this chiropractor, and as an antioxidant. Every time you buy french fries, cooked in old oil, high in oxidised low density cholesterol, dangerous free oxygen radicals are released, so we all need the protection yielded by nutrients in the allium family.

This is why the quercetin in onions is recognised for its anti-tumour effect.

Eating onions daily has been shown to lower the incidence of many tumours particularly of the GI tract, but also the ovaries, for example.

Allicin benefits are to be found in the sorts of foods we should all be enjoying on a daily basis if we have no desire to get metastatic disease. Couldn't be bothered? Those who will not hear, must feel is a profound Dutch saying.


Broken bones are obviously common in the elderly. Swiss researchers found that daily onion consumption by reducing osteoporosis was associated with a 20% lower incidence of hip fracture.

That alone makes allicin benefits in the diet on a daily basis critical for every woman.


Onions are a good source of chromium, an element associated with better regulation of insulin.

Anti-clot formation

Another of the many allicin benefits is a proven platelet regulating property; they improve the health of blood vessels and lessen strokes and heart attacks.

The allium family has many members; have fried onions with your eggs Florentine for breakfast, spring onions and chives with your green salad at lunch, and plenty of garlic in that beef stew tonight.

Do you know what the symptoms of heart attack are? We should all know them cold.

Choice foods

A divine green salad with allicin benefits from the spring onions.

The allium family certainly is one of the all-time healthy choice foods, so easy to cook and adds immensely to any meal, raw, fried or stewed. The tiny spring onions chopped into our daily green salad makes such a difference to what could otherwise be a rather dull dish.

Chopping onions

Chopping onions is not that straight forward if you want to avoid burning eyes.

The key to chopping onions is to work quickly to save your eyes from that acid. Cut it in half lengthways, slicing off the head, but leaving the root end intact. Make incisions all along the round of the bulb, but leaving the whole intact; this helps prevent the release of the noxious sulphurous gases.

Now turn your half onion sideways and slice it, holding onto the root, and starting at the head end; now you will have nice little cubes and minimal pain in your eyes.

These important volatile gases will soon be lost; chop your onions just before cooking. Never buy chopped onions from the supermarket; you will lose much of their flavour and nutrient value.


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So, whether it is vichyssoise, a mutton stew or simply finely chopped raw onion on a hamburger, the allicin benefits are vast and I suspect largely under-reported, and at this stage not easily measured.

Do not forget the garlic either. That goes into our eggs Florentine every morning, into the hummus at lunch and usually finds its way into the main dinner dish in one way or another.

Just eat more onions if you want to be less ill.

Bernard Preston

Bernard Preston is crazy about simple, definitely not cordon-bleu, nutritious food. Stuff that tastes great, does wonders for your mind and body and can be prepared in a jiffy; the allicin benefits in the onion family are a case in point.

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