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Garlic (Allium sativum) is closely associated to the leek and onion family. Due to its peculiar odour, garlic is also referred to as “the stinking rose” and is widely used as a flavouring agent in a number of cuisines across the world. Garlic has a number of benefits. Garlic can fight sickness and infections like common cold, its antioxidants may fight onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Eating garlic can protect organs from heavy metal toxicity. Allicin, a chemical found in garlic can eliminate bacteria, fungi and treat digestive issues. However, the most notable benefit of garlic is its usefulness in lowering cholesterol levels.
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Benefits of Garlic for Cholesterol
Many research studies have suggested that garlic can reduce cholesterol levels. About half a gram to one gram of garlic should be consumed regularly to lower cholesterol levels. About 20 mg.
Daily consumption of garlic significantly impacted cholesterol and triglyceride levels in a positive manner. The bad cholesterol or LDL levels were slightly lowered. The HDL levels or good cholesterol levels remain unchanged by garlic dosing.
However, Garlic’s cholesterol-lowering abilities appear to be dose-dependent. That means the more garlic you consume, the more your cholesterol will drop.
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As a Healing Agent
Garlic is a potent antioxidant and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. This makes it a powerful healing agent in case of infections. Garlic also speeds up our body’s wound recovery process and acts as a therapeutic agent. This immunity booster builds up overall health which further aids in lowering cholesterol.
Lowers Blood Pressure
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), garlic can also help lower blood pressure. Garlic contains Allicin which relaxes the muscles of the blood vessels. As a result, blood vessels dilate and blood pressure drops.
Reduces The Risk of Heart Attacks
Consumption of garlic slows the development of atherosclerosis. It is a condition where cholesterol plaques build up on the arterial walls which harden and narrow. This raises the risk of a heart attack.
Is it Safe to Consume Garlic?
- The recommended dosage of garlic is one to two cloves per day or 300 mg of garlic in dried, powdered or tablet form
- If garlic is included more in the diet, the worst outcome will be strong breath, body odor, heartburn and an upset stomach
- However, garlic has blood thinning properties hence its consumption might be risky in case one is suffering from any bleeding disorder
- Garlic can also interfere with Saquinavir, a drug used in the treatment of HIV
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Ways To Use Garlic
- Spread freshly grated garlic over toasted bread
Toast your bread before spreading grated garlic over it as toasting grated garlic reduces the levels of Allicin compound which the most potent ingredient of garlic.
- Make a Smoothie
Add four cloves of garlic along with two tomatoes and a lemon in a blender to make a smoothie. Keep it refrigerated. Sip on this concoction daily especially if you are fighting infection.
- Alternatively, you can consume more garlic by adding it to vinaigrettes, hummus, salsas, and stir-fries
- Cook garlic mildly as heat can reduce garlic’s most potent component, allicin
- To preserve garlic’s effectiveness, you should add garlic at the end of the cooking process
- Garlic is most effective in its raw form – hence garlic used in a raw form in dressings and dips is the most effective
- Contemporary research on garlic is still not comprehensive. Though traditional medicine and home remedies built over centuries swear by garlic’s therapeutic benefits, it is always beneficial to talk with your healthcare provider about the advantages and risks of consuming garlic supplements.