The Miracles Of Garlic (#4 Is The Most Unexpected!)

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Garlic is a condiment popular in many cultures all over the world, particularly in Mediterranean cuisine. It has a distinct flavor on its own, but it can also help accentuate the flavor of other items, making it one of the most widely used ingredients on the the planet. Most people know on some level that garlic is considered a healthy food, but few are aware of just how powerful an effect this wonderful vegetable can have on their lives. As you’ll learn in this article, garlic rightly belongs in the pantheon of superfoods due to its wide range of health benefits.

Garlic belongs to the onion or “allium” family of vegetables, and it is similar in taste and consistency to onions, leeks, and shallots. What makes garlic such an incredibly beneficial food is the presence of a sulfurous compound called allicin. This powerful molecule has been shown to play a role in improving health in numerous ways, including the following.

 

Reducing blood pressure

Studies have shown garlic consumption to be highly effective at reducing blood pressure in adults with hypertension (high blood pressure). Left untreated, severe hypertension can contribute to a heart attack or stroke.

Studies conducted in the United States, Australia, Pakistan, and China have all produced evidence proving garlic’s ability to contribute to lowered blood pressure. One study examined the effects of aged garlic extract supplementation on those with hypertension. Test subjects took doses ranging from 600 mg to 1000 mg over a 24-week period. The results were amazing: Garlic extract proved just as effective as the blood pressure medication Atenolol!

This is welcome news for those with high blood pressure who do not wish to endure the unpleasant side effects of certain blood pressure meds, such as dizziness or erectile dysfunction.

 

Garlic may play a role in preventing dementia

Garlic is packed with antioxidants which help fight the aging process and keep your mind sharp and alert. Aging is caused by oxidative stress on the body’s cells, which is linked to the presence of free radicals.

Garlic is rich in exactly the type of antioxidants your body requires to counteract the effects of free radicals, and protect the brain from inflammation associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Garlic improves heart health and reduces risk of stroke

Eating garlic has been shown to reduce the formation of plaque inside the arteries. Arteriosclerosis, or clogged arteries, is a condition where fat calcifies inside the arteries, obstructing the flow of blood. It is one of the most common causes of fatal heart attacks. A four-year study in Germany showed a nearly 20 percent reduction in the amount of arterial plaque in test subjects who supplemented with garlic powder. A similar, yearlong UCLA study found that a group at risk for heart disease that took a garlic supplement showed drastically decreased acceleration in the process of arterial calcification versus the control group.

Part of the way in which garlic seems to fight calcification is by changing the ratio of “brown” versus “white” fat near the heart. Brown fat helps the body produce heat and burn calories. White fat, by contrast, is used to store energy, and while essential for health, excessive white fat is the type of fat that leads to obesity and plaque buildup in the arteries. Garlic helps reduce the amount of white fat, thus slowing the process of plaque calcification.

The German study also revealed garlic’s ability to help those at risk of a stroke. Over the course of the four-year clinical trial, researchers found that those taking the garlic powder reduced their risk of stroke by 50 percent.

 

Garlic can help cleanse heavy metals out of your body

Studies performed on patients suffering from heavy metal toxicity showed that garlic has the ability to help their condition, in some cases even more effectively than traditional treatments.

One study showed a 19 percent reduction in the presence of lead in the bloodstreams of industrial workers who were exposed to it on the job. One group of workers was given 1200 μg allicin (extracted from garlic), while the control group took d-penicillamine, a drug traditionally used to treat lead toxicity. Each group took their drug three times daily for four weeks. At the end of the study, the group taking garlic extract had lower levels of lead concentration in the blood than the control group. They also had significantly reduced side effects, like headaches and high blood pressure, versus those taking d-penicillamine.

 

The Bottom Line

Multiple studies have confirmed garlic’s amazing ability to stave off serious illness and age-related maladies, and it’s likely that scientists are just scratching the surface of what this vegetable is capable. Think of eating garlic like taking out an insurance policy against disease. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll never get sick, but it makes it significantly less likely.

 

READ ALSO: All Benefits Of Garlic Infographic

 

Adding more garlic to your diet is a no-brainer for those interested in preventative health. Taking garlic extract supplements may be even more effective for those with serious health risks. Talk to your doctor about which approach fits your health needs best.If nothing else, just enjoy garlic’s bold flavor. It’s bad for your breath, but it may end up saving your life.

References:

www.nccih.nih.gov

www.cancer.gov