Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Amanda Williams, MPH.
Most of us have used the term “thinking outside the box” at some point in time in our lives. One thing that I like to think about is thinking outside of the kitchen and there’s a reason why. There are so many wonderful things that we have in our food on a regular basis that can be so helpful for our overall health, so we have to think about some of the common nutrients that we’re exposed to. We can think about things like onion and garlic, for example. The garlic is predominantly what I want to focus in on today. We know that garlic not only has many well-studied cardiovascular benefits to it, but it goes well beyond that. I want to talk all about the many benefits of garlic, aged garlic in particular. When we think about supplementation, we want to make sure that the form of garlic we are using is the aged garlic type.†
What is garlic?
Most of us know garlic and it definitely has a very strong and familiar scent to it. Most people know if someone has had a good amount of garlic in a meal or you walk into your house and if someone is preparing a meal with a lot of garlic, it has a very profound smell to it.
Garlic itself is a perennial that actually belongs to the onion family. The flavors that come from the garlic are very, very powerful, which is why when you’re cooking with garlic, usually a little bit goes a long way. There are many different types of garlic. Most of us just think of the traditional garlic that we utilize, which is the hardneck garlic. We have to recognize that all of the powerful constituents that are found within the garlic is what really yields all of these superior health benefits.†
Aged Garlic for Heart and Overall Health – Invite Health Podcast, Episode 54. Listen Now >>
Learn more about the history of garlic by tuning into the full podcast episode.
We also have to look at the chemicals and constituents that are in garlic. We know that allicin is a very powerful chemical constituent that is derived from the garlic itself. What’s really quite interesting is that it is the allicin that produces that very powerful and unique scent. We know that there’s a high count of sulfur compounds in garlic and this is what’s responsible for its scent and taste, as well as those beneficial effects. It’s been studied across the spectrum when it comes to health.†
Garlic outside the kitchen
Initially, people would look at garlic in terms of its cardiovascular benefits and we certainly know that there are many of those. It offers broad cardioprotective effects, to such a degree that there was a really important study that came out in the Journal of Nutrition about four or five years ago. This was done via the UCLA Medical Center, where they were showing the impact of aged garlic extract, so now we’re talking about supplementation as opposed to the food. This means that we’re taking those really active constituents and putting them into a capsulated form. You’re getting a major power punch of those constituents. In this study, they were able to show that aged garlic could reduce dangerous plaque buildup within the arteries. This is a really great thing.†
At UCLA, they completed the four different randomized studies through which they looked at the progression of atherosclerosis and heart disease and looking at the aged garlic and seeing that it had this ability to actually reverse those different stages of heart disease. We have seen studies where they assess the C-reactive protein, which indicates levels of chronic inflammation. We have seen how beneficial aged garlic can be, even with supporting cholesterol levels.†
Importance of Aged Garlic for Heart Health – Invite Health Podcast, Episode 16. Listen Now >>
A study published in 2019 by the Experimental Biology Journal talked about how garlic could reduce aging-related memory problems. In this particular study that was conducted out of the University of Louisville, they were looking at that sulfide compound within the allicin. The interesting finding within the study was the correlation between the gut microbiome. Remember, a healthy gut means a healthy mind. The researchers were able to see how the garlic itself helped to maintain that healthy gut microbiome, those microorganisms that are in the intestines that are there to keep us healthy and to maintain that proper communication between the gut and the brain. The gut contains trillions of these microorganisms. They were able to show just how the garlic itself can work in a way to enhance that communication between the two, and in doing that, they were able to show an improvement in memory.†
Tune into the full podcast episode for additional benefits of aged garlic.
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