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Garlic and Heart Health

Submitted by Stella Morgan on November 19, 2010

Heart Benefits Of Garlic

Garlic is a commonly used plant from the same family as onions. Garlic is known for its medicinal properties. Garlic is also commonly used in cooking across a wide range of cuisines across the world. Garlic is often used as a flavoring agent and is rarely consumed whole. The consumption of garlic cloves is usually related to a medicinal use rather than a culinary application.

Garlic is known to cause bad breath and can sometimes cause an odd smell to emanate from the sweat, especially if consumed in large quantities. Garlic can be used as whole fresh cloves or in the form of readymade pastes.

One of the most important benefits of garlic is the antioxidant characteristic of this plant.

Antioxidants are useful for the body to prevent damage to the body from free radicals. The antioxidant characteristic of garlic makes it useful when it comes to dealing with cholesterol. High cholesterol, particularly low density lipoprotein, can be harmful to an individual.

High levels of cholesterol have been linked with blockages developing in blood vessels in and around the heart. This leads to the development of cardiac conditions including heart attacks.

Garlic is known to be anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. These benefits of garlic apply to simple ailments like the common flu.

Individuals suffering from a blocked nose and running nose may sleep with a necklace made of garlic cloves. Although the smell on the clothes in the morning may be undesirable, the effects on the individual’s breathing are positive. An individual may experience easy breathing with reduced running and blockage of the nose after this treatment.

Another of the important benefits of garlic is its use as an anti-biotic. Foods that contain garlic are said to be useful for infections that affect the digestive system. Garlic based foods are sometimes recommended to people with digestive issues. Apart from the antibiotic properties mentioned above, garlic is also a relaxant and can help improve blood circulation. This is often essential when curing an ailment as improved circulation helps to nourish the affected part of the body effectively.

Because of its effective handling of cholesterol, many doctors recommend garlic for heart related problems. Doctors may also recommend garlic for heart health rather than after a condition has affected an individual.

It should be noted that garlic is not a cure-all drug or medicine. One can consume garlic as an accessory to the diet while filling the diet with nutritious and healthy foods. Garlic should not replace any healthy foods; it can simply be used as a culinary and medicinal supplement to these foods.

The consumption of large quantities of garlic may also be harmful to the individual. This is applicable to most food items. One must therefore consult with a healthcare specialist to understand how much garlic is healthy for consumption. Some people may also be sensitive to garlic and may display signs of food allergy when they consume large quantities of this food item. One may therefore avoid garlic if these side effects are noted.

Garlic has been used in several cuisines all over the world as a regular ingredient. Most of the times as ancient medicine would believe garlic was more for digestive purposes than any other.

Garlic was said to reduce levels of cholesterol as well as blood pressure. Garlic is also known to be an antibacterial, antiviral and an anticancer herb. Therefore, garlic helps in prevention of various illness including helps in slowing down of coronary artery disease.
Coronary artery disease is also known as the atherosclerosis, which means hardening of coronary arteries.

This supposition was one of the reasons why people started taking garlic supplements, all those who did not include the herb in their diets took these supplements to lower cholesterol and heart disease. However, recent studies have shown that people suffering from these diseases who were given three types of combinations of garlic supplements, to study relevance between the suppositions to arrive at facts.

However, unfortunately no proper evidence was found between intake of garlic and reduction or slowing down of the diseases. Moreover, neither was garlic said to control the blood pressure, nor did it slow down the coronary heart disease. Therefore, recently there has not been any scientific evidence to show any relationship between garlic and its health benefits.

Garlic is known to give stomach upsets and allergic reactions to some. Though there are no facts that garlic can protect heart health, there are some who do believe in garlic, therefore might start up on garlic supplements. Though, garlic clove when used in diet does not have any harmful effects, the supplements might affect a person’s health especially if he is using some other prescription drugs.

Therefore, it happens to the physician’s responsibility that garlic supplements do not have different effect when taken along with some other prescription drugs. There is another quality to garlic, is reduces platelet count, therefore, garlic and garlic supplement intake requires to be restricted before and after surgery.

Studies have also revealed that garlic might interfere between anti-viral HIV drugs. Eating garlic cloves does not have any side-effects, neither is garlic particularly harmful, however, garlic supplements require to be taken with care so that these do not create any complication if taken along with some prescription drugs.  

Garlic when used in food can liven up the food with its unique odor and slight spicy taste and flavor, therefore if you believe in goodness of garlic, despite no scientific evidence, you can consume it by including it in your food.

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