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How Garlic Can Help Your Heart

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 29 Mar 2012 | comments*Discuss
Garlic Heart Health Arteries Cholesterol

Garlic (Allium sativum) was is popular worldwide. It will grow in virtually all parts of the world and can be found throughout Europe growing wild in fields and woodlands.

Garlic has been used medicinally and for cooking for centuries. There exists an Egyptian papyrus which dates all the way back to 1,500 B.C. The papyrus describes the use of garlic for more than twenty different ailments. It has also been said that garlic was given to Egyptian slaves, as they built the pyramids, as a supplement to keep them healthy and strong. Louis Pasteur did extensive work on garlic and in 1858 he discovered that is can kill bacteria.

Garlic is used today in a wide range of recipes to flavour food and to add nutritional benefits. Garlic is also available as a supplement from health food stores.

Garlic and Your Heart

When cholesterol builds up in the arteries it forces your heart to work overtime to keep pumping your blood throughout your body. This in turn pushes up your blood pressure levels. A combination of high blood pressure levels and high cholesterol increases the risk of atherosclerosis - hardening and thickening of the arteries. By lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, garlic keeps your arteries protected.

Garlic also reduces age related thickening of the arteries. Studies conducted on healthy adults show that garlic can help to maintain the elastic properties of the body's main artery- the aorta. This is beneficial as it can prevent atherosclerosis and thereby reduce the risk of a stroke.

One of garlic's main compounds prevents blood from clotting. This greatly reduces your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Garlic's protective antioxidants have also been shown to be beneficial for the heart after surgery.

Garlic can also help disperse fibrin the body and in this way, work to reducing your chance of many heart problems.

Garlic can also boost the immune system and so helps your body fight disease.

Preparing Garlic

The way you prepare garlic will actually affect its healing capability. When you cut or crush a clove of garlic it releases an enzyme and an amino acid which then combines to form a compound called allicin. Allicin has been shown to kill many types of bacteria including salmonella. You should crush garlic and leave it for fifteen minutes before adding to food, to allow the reaction to take place.

Cooking garlic produces other changes that can prevent clogging of the arteries, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Garlic's blood-thinning properties may also be helpful in reducing the risk of strokes.

For people who hate the smell or taste of garlic, there is a supplement available called Kyolic. Because of its altered chemistry it leaves no lingering smell or taste, while still giving you all the benefits of regular garlic. A dose of 1200 mg to 1600 mg of Kyolic every day should be sufficient to keep both heart disease, and vampires, at bay.

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