How Eating Garlic Can Help Your Health

This type of supplement does not contain allicin, but it does retain the medical properties of garlic. Many of the studies showing benefits against colds and the flu used aged garlic extract Garlic Contains Compounds With Potent Medicinal Properties, garlic is a plant in the Allium (onion) family, It is closely related to onions, shallots and leeks. Each segment of a garlic bulb is called a clove. There are about 10-20 cloves in a single bulb, give or take. Garlic grows in many parts of the world and is a popular ingredient in cooking due to its strong smell and delicious taste. However, throughout ancient history, the main use of garlic was for its health and medicinal properties.Its use was well documented by many major civilizations, including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and Chinese. Scientists now know that most of its health benefits are caused by sulfur compounds formed when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed or chewed. Perhaps the most famous of those is known as allicin, however, allicin is an unstable compound that is only briefly present in fresh garlic after it’s been cut or crushed. Other compounds that may play a role in garlic’s health benefits include diallyl disulfide and s-allyl cysteine. The sulfur compounds from garlic enter the body from the digestive tract and travel all over the body, where it exerts its potent biological effects.

Summary Garlic is a plant in the onion family that’s grown for its distinctive taste and health benefits. It contains sulfur compounds, which are believed to bring some of the health benefits. Garlic May Improve Bone Health No human studies have measured the effects of garlic on bone loss. However, rodent studies have shown that it can minimize bone loss by increasing estrogen in females.One study in menopausal women found that a daily dose of dry garlic extract (equal to 2 grams of raw garlic) significantly decreased a marker of estrogen deficiency.This suggests that this supplement may have beneficial effects on bone health in women. Foods like garlic and onions may also have beneficial effects on osteoarthritis. Garlic appears to have some benefits for bone health by increasing estrogen levels in females, but more human studies are needed. There’s nothing like a little garlic to punch up a stir-fry, roast chicken, or pasta dish, but for centuries it has been purported to add some oomph to your health, too. Ancient civilizations used garlic to treat asthma, digestive disorders, heart disease, infections, respiratory disorders, tumors, and even intestinal worms. Today, claims for the health benefits of garlic include lower blood pressure and cholesterol, an anti-inflammatory effect, a reduced risk of cancer, and a stronger immune system.

While many of these claims are overblown, there is evidence of some health benefits. Here is what you should know about this pungent allium, and how to reap its benefits. What Makes Garlic Special Garlic’s odoriferous flavor comes from sulfur compounds made from allicin, an active ingredient once thought to be responsible for the health benefits of garlic. But it has as many as 40 other compounds, and “any number or combination of them may be responsible for its healthfulness,” says Matthew Budoff, M.D., a professor of medicine at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute who studies the effects of garlic on cardiovascular health. Most of the studies on the health benefits of garlic used garlic supplements because they provide a consistent dose, though others used garlic powder, garlic oil, and a Japanese method of preparing garlic that involved kneading and pulverizing crushed garlic together with egg yolk. Budoff says the strongest evidence for the health claims suggests that garlic may help the heart, with data overall showing about a 10 percent reduction in cholesterol and a three to eight point drop in blood pressure. “That isn’t quite as good as cholesterol or blood pressure pills,” he says, “but it’s certainly a nice effect.

” More on Healthy Foods Are Bananas Good for You? 5 Vegetables That Are Healthier Cooked Are Carrots Good for You? Are Cruciferous Vegetables Healthier Than Other Ones? A review of studies published in the journal Neurological Research in March, for instance, concluded that garlic and some of its various preparations (such as garlic extract or powder) could be a helpful side therapy for those already being treated for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes; and potentially may even reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Another study published in 2017 involving an analysis of nine clinical trials with a total of 768 patients with type 2 diabetes found that those who took 50 to 1,500 mg of a garlic supplement each day for two or three months had significant reductions in their fasting blood glucose levels. And in an earlier, smaller study of 55 people with metabolic syndrome-a group of risk factors, such as excess stomach fat or high blood pressure, that raise the risk of heart disease-published in the Journal of Nutrition, Budoff and his colleagues found that those who took a daily garlic supplement for a year had slower plaque buildup from coronary artery disease than those who took a placebo.

A Hint of Caution But many studies showing a cardiovascular benefit, though rigorous, are small, and not every study shows that garlic is beneficial. There has even been concern that garlic supplements may be harmful for some people with heart disease. A research review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that garlic (along with green tea, ginkgo, ginseng, and hawthorn) can interfere with the efficacy of some heart medications or increase their side effects. For example, too much garlic can pose a bleeding risk for people on anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin, Panwarfin) or a prescribed aspirin regimen. It may also make some other drugs less effective, such as saquinavir, a drug used to treat HIV infection, according to the National Institutes of Health. The authors of the review also noted that garlic (and other herbal supplements) has “limited evidence of benefit,” meaning it might help but more research is needed. The research is even weaker for garlic’s ability to fight bacteria, ward off colds, boost the immune system, or reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as stomach or colon cancer. “There’s a lot of purported benefits of these medicines,” says Budoff at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute.

“I’m more comfortable with the research on the cardiovascular benefits of garlic, and I’m less comfortable with it curing the common cold, acting as an antiviral, or other therapies.” Garlic in Your Dinner Perhaps for these reasons, experts say the best way to get your garlic is from the fresh clove, although there can be a few “side effects” from eating it fresh. Garlic breath is probably the worst of it, but some people do suffer from indigestion after eating fresh garlic. A less stinky and easier-on-the-stomach alternative may be black garlic, which is “aged” under intense heat and humidity for 10 days, turning the bulbs black and purportedly giving the allium a sweeter, more sour taste with a jelly-like consistency. This aging process rids the garlic of its pungent, irritating properties, but the benefits remain. Garlic is an essential part of the Mediterranean diet, “which has been shown to have the best long-term outcomes of any diet we know of,” says Budoff. Studies have linked this way of eating-which emphasizes produce, legumes, grains, and healthy oils, with small amounts of fish and meat-to a better quality of life, a lower risk of chronic disease, and better brain health in older adults. “You can use it to spice up a healthy dish without having to add any salt.

Just make sure to use fresh garlic instead of garlic salt, which will boost the sodium levels.” How to Get the Most Out of Garlic Choose the freshest bulbs. Look for plump bulbs with tight skin that isn’t frayed, loose, dried out, or moldy. Sprouting, too, is a sign of age. The fresher the garlic, the higher the concentration of its active ingredients, Budoff explains. Though garlic can keep for months, he says it’s best to eat it within a week. “If you go longer than that,” he says, “you can end up with something that’s deactivated.” Store it right. Keep garlic in a cool, dark place with good ventilation to prevent it from getting moldy or from sprouting. Chop it for your health. Chopping, slicing, or smashing garlic triggers an enzyme reaction that increases its healthful compounds. Heat prevents this reaction, so let garlic sit on the cutting board for at least 10 minutes before cooking. Minimize garlic breath. The smell of garlic can stay on your breath and be excreted by the lungs for a day or two after you eat it. A study published in the Journal of Food Science in 2016 suggests that munching on raw mint leaves, apples, or lettuce after a garlicky meal can help by neutralizing the sulfur compounds in garlic responsible for its odor.