There are about 20 different names for garlic as a supplement, and there are probably even more therapeutic uses for this popular herb. Though it is most widely known for its use in cooking, it has also been used in the prevention and treatment of a wide array of health conditions.
Both the fresh clove itself and/or supplements created from the clove have been used therapeutically for years.
How Garlic Works
The garlic herb produces allicin, a natural chemical that gives garlic its smell and is also what is thought to make it work therapeutically for certain health conditions.
There are some garlic products that age garlic in order to make it odorless, however, the process of doing so can take away from its overall potency and lessen its therapeutic effects.
Many experts recommend the use of garlic supplements with enteric coating because this ensures that the herb is dissolved in the intestine instead of in the stomach.
Why Fresh Garlic Is Best For Your Heart
Since at least 1500 B.C., garlic has been used by many Chinese and Indian healers for its blood thinning benefits.
More recently, experts have confirmed that fresh garlic can help protect your heart because it releases a short-lived gas called hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide in small amounts functions as “an intracellular signaling compound” which helps to protect your heart, but when garlic is cooked, processed, or dried, the hydrogen sulfide gas disappears.
The Heart Health Benefits Of Garlic
Prevention Of Heart Disease And Lowering Cholesterol
The garlic clove can play a significant role in the reduction of risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and even heart attacks.
Cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, which causes more American deaths than any other medical condition. Because garlic is effective at lowering cholesterol levels, it can help lower your risk of developing heart disease.
A study done by the Mayo Clinic revealed these benefits of garlic:
Other than cholesterol lowering benefits, garlic also contains powerful antioxidants that can further help heart health. Garlic naturally contains a number of powerful antioxidants, which are compounds that help prevent oxidation. Oxidation is a potentially harmful process in your body.
One of the antioxidants contained in garlic is selenium. Selenium is mineral that is also a component of glutathione peroxidase. This powerful antioxidant is made by your body in order to defend itself.
The glutathione peroxidase works with the vitamin E in your body to help form an “antioxidant defense system.” This helps to keep to your blood clean.
Garlic also offers other antioxidants such as vitamin C, which can reduce damage caused by high cholesterol, and the phytochemical quercetin. Phytochemicals are important chemical substances found naturally in certain plants and hold significant health benefits for humans.
In 2004, British researchers found that subjects who took quercetin supplements had reduced platelet aggregation, which suggests that quercetin, could reduce the risk of blood clotting.
Greek cardiologists provided evidence that a polyphenol extract rich in quercetin improved endothelial health due to the quercetin’s ability to increase flow-mediated dilation of major arteries, which is evidence of improved endothelial health.
A study conducted at the University of Utah in 2007 used 19 test subjects with pre-hypertension and 22 with stage 1 (early) hypertension.
Some subjects received a placebo while the others took 730 mg quercetin per day for 28 days. No effect was seen with the pre-hypertensive patients, but those with hypertension had meaningful reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Another randomized study conducted in 2008 that included a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial of 12 healthy men showed biochemical evidence of improved endothelial function with the intake of as little as 200 mg per day of quercetin.
Garlic Usage Tips
A lot of evidence exists as to the therapeutic benefits of garlic for heart health. Remember that fresh garlic is the best form of garlic to use if you want to receive the maximum heart health benefits.
Consume garlic soon after peeling in raw form. Fresh raw garlic can be used and enjoyed in various recipes. It can be sprinkled over scrambled eggs, steamed vegetables or pasta. When ground to paste form it is even more versatile and can be spread on whole grain bread as a super healthy condiment.
Mushrooms and garlic go great together. Bake your mushrooms with a little olive oil and capers, and then once out of the oven sprinkle fresh garlic, chopped parsley and a dash of fresh lemon juice, mix it up and enjoy!
Supplementation is always an option, ask your doctor about its benefits for you.