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Garlic has long been reknowned as one of the natures most effective cure-alls and is among the oldest herbal folks remedies for ailments such as coughs, colds, stomach upset and sore throats. Modern research also suggests that garlic could be good for your heart.
Garlic helps to keep blood flowing freely by discouraging blood platelets from clumping together. It appears to increase the level of beneficial HDL cholesterol in blood and to reduce level of more harmful LDL cholesterol, so helping to keep arteries clear and reducing the risk of heart disease. Garlic also appears to help to reduce high blood pressure and therefore to offer some protection against heart attacks and other circulatory problems such as strokes.
The beneficial effect of garlic is largely due to a pungent substance called allicin, which is produced only when fresh garlic is cut, crushed, or heated. As allicin loses its potency rapidly, it is better to get your garlic in the fresh form, whether cooked or raw, than to use products such as dried flakes, garlic powder or garlic salt.
Studies indicate that eating between one and there fresh garlic cloves a day provides enough allicin to reduce the risk of heart attack significantly. These findings seems to be confirmed by relatively low incidence of heart attacks among people who eat Mediterranean – style diet that is rich in garlic.
Garlic capsules, which do not release their allicin until they reach the stomach, are a good alternative to fresh garlic if you are worried about bad breath or do not like the flavor of the fresh herb.
CAUTION – However good garlic may be for the heart, it cannot work miracles by itself. You still need to eat a healthy diet, take regular exercise and avoid smoking.
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