Among folk remedies, few stand as tall as garlic.
Touted for a wide range of benefits, this pungent herb makes for a versatile, potentially healing, culinary option.
But does science give us any insight into whether or not garlic can be a heart healer?
Specifically, does garlic have any impact on arterial plaque, thus benefiting heart health?
Researchers from Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands teamed up to examine whether or not garlic has any impact on noncalcified plaque (NCP).
Their results, published in the February 2016 edition of The Journal of Nutrition, could offer some hope.
Out of a group of 55 subjects with metabolic syndrome, 27 were assigned to consume an aged garlic extract and 28 were assigned a placebo. They consumed these over the course of close to a year, on average.
At the start of the study as well as after the time consuming either the garlic or placebo, they measured the levels of several different types of plaque.
Here’s the hopeful part.
Low-attenuation plaque, which is an unstable form of plaque that is more prone to rupture, was significantly reduced in the garlic group compared to the placebo, to the tune of a 1.5% reduction versus a 0.2% increase in the placebo group.
Not a huge number necessarily, but sometimes you are not looking for something to take care of everything all at once, but rather something that offers multiple benefits as part of a holistic plan.
Garlic can certainly be part of that plan given its potential to aid heart health, its anti-inflammatory abilities, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal potential, and even its potential to help prevent or alleviate the common cold.
Longer-term and larger studies should help give us a better idea as to how significant garlic’s impact could be on heart and artery health over time, but this certainly gives us a good start and some food for thought.
So talk to your doctor to see if garlic is a safe and beneficial addition to your diet!
Here’s to your health!
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