Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Amanda Williams, MPH
On today's episode, I am going to be discussing one of the world's longest used medicinal foods available. This particular food has so many different therapeutic uses and, when you look at the clinical research and the science behind this nutrient, it is really quite impressive. Throughout history there are so many different ways that different cultures have recognized potential utilizations of certain nutrients that are derived from foods, or the whole food itself and how when we are consuming these different foods, we are helping to optimize different aspects of our health. So today, I am going to focus on Garlic; oftentimes people consider garlic one of those foods that is very beneficial for heart health and we know that is true. But I am going to go into more detail as to what other areas in the body Garlic can be beneficial for you.
Benefits of Garlic as a Food
Garlic, for so very long, has been researched for its role in human health. As science has evolved, there have been more and more research studies looking at the possibility of Garlic's therapeutic value in different disease states. What the primary focus is, is looking at the different compounds in Garlic and how these specific compounds are really working at the cellular level and enzymatic level to potentiate these different systemic health benefits.
Across the board, we can recognize why adhering to something like a Mediterranean diet would be so incredibly advantageous. When you look at a Mediterranean diet and you see the foods that are incorporated into that diet, including things such as Garlic, you can understand why. For example, if you just had one clove of Garlic, you are exposing your body to so many different nutrients by incorporating Garlic into your foods. This includes different vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin C, B-Vitamins, Selenium and Magnesium. Garlic also contains Omega-3 fatty acids.
Benefits of Aged Garlic Extract seen in Clinical Studies
Research surrounding Garlic extract focuses on Allicin, which plays a really important role in dietary and medicinal properties. When it comes to cardiovascular health, Garlic certainly packs a huge punch. But research has also shown it can benefit your overall health.
Published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2016, researchers were looking at the different heart benefits seen with Aged Garlic. Through a population of data and numerous studies, they determined that a reduction in systolic blood pressure - upwards of 15 points - in participants who consumed Aged Garlic. In diastolic blood pressure, a 10-15% drop was found. Researchers also noted anywhere from a 10-30 point drop in cholesterol levels. But the researchers did not stop there. They also studied how Garlic impacted inflammation. They found that a lowering in systemic inflammation (c-reactive protein levels) were reduced with Garlic. C-reactive protein is a marker that you can assess in your blood that determines how much inflammation is actually occurring.
Aged Garlic extract has been shown in clinical research trials to have a finite ability to impede or inhibit inflammation. In the Journal of Molecular Nutrition in 2017, researchers discussed just that; they studied how Aged Garlic was not only targeting C-reactive protein, but also other markers for inflammation. In animal studies, researchers found that a specific type of inflammation was lowered by 35% with Aged Garlic. This is incredibly powerful.
We know that plaque build up can lead to a greater risk for a cardiovascular event. A study that was performed in 2018 that was published in the Clinical Nutrition Journal, reported in their double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, found that Aged garlic impacted different markers in clinically obese patients. The trial was broken into two groups - one was given Aged Garlic extract every day, the other group was given a placebo. After six weeks, a reduction in bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) in the group that was given Aged Garlic extract.
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