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Diet & Nutrition

Is Garlic Good For The Heart?

Dt. Pooja Bohora

Garlic: A flavoursome way to support heart health.

There is nothing better than food acting as your medicine. As quoted by the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates- “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, often prescribed garlic for treating a wide range of conditions.

Research and modern science have confirmed a lot of these health benefits associated with garlic. One of the most important health benefits that are attributed to garlic is its positive effect on heart health. Scientists have discovered a variety of sulfur compounds in this vegetable that are heart-healthy. The compounds that make it healthy are allicin, diallyl disulfide, and s-allyl cysteine. Not only is it very nutritious, but it also has very little calories.

Effect on heart health

Heart diseases like strokes and heart attacks are two of the biggest heart problems in the world responsible for high mortality rates. High BP is a major risk factor for these diseases. Studies conducted on human subjects have shown a significant impact of garlic supplements on reducing high blood pressure. The dose of garlic must be sufficiently high (4 cloves a day) for it to have a noticeable effect.

This superfood also helps in lowering cholesterol, especially the bad kind of cholesterol (LDL). Garlic has shown to reduce cholesterol by 10–15%. While it reduces LDL, it doesn’t have much impact on HDL. Triglycerides which are also harmful to the heart, show no change or reduction upon taking garlic.

Other health benefits

  • Being rich in antioxidants, garlic helps in combating Alzheimer’s, dementia and the ageing process
  • Garlic has shown to protect the body from heavy metal toxins. It also reduces symptoms of toxicity associated with headache and high blood pressure
  • Consuming this vegetable results in an increase in athletic performance as it reduces peak heart rate and increases capacity for exercise
  • It may also improve bone health. While human studies are still pending on this one, studies in rodents have shown that garlic can minimize bone loss by fighting estrogen depletion in females

Garlic is easy to include in the diet and tastes downright delicious. It comes in many forms from raw cloves to powders and pastes. It is excellent in adding flavour to otherwise bland recipes. It is not only nutritious and healthy food but also a taste enhancer. While this superfood may cause bad breath and some people might be allergic to it, it is no doubt a wonder food with significant medicinal properties. If you wish to know more about garlic’s health benefits or want to know about other healthy foods then definitely consult with a dietitian.

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