Enthusiasts claim that garlic helps prevent heart disease
and cancer-the top two causes of death for Americans
over 50. Garlic may also help stop internal blood clots
that can trigger heart attacks. Fresh garlic and garlic
supplements may reduce cholesterol levels, a key risk
factor for heart disease.
In 1999, researchers in Germany published a four year
study showing that consuming garlic may open narrowed
arteries, suggesting a possible"curative role" in heart
A few years before that, researchers at the Uni-
versity of North Carolina analyzed 18 studies and found
that compared with participants who consumed no garlic,
those who ate the most (more than seven cloves a week)
were 31 percent less likely to develope colon cancer and
47 percent less less likely to suffer stomach cancer.
Corroborating evidence comes from a University of
Minnesota study of 42,000 Iowa women. Compared with those who ate the least garlic, participants who consumed
the most ( which in this study was only a clove or two a
week) saw their risk of colon cancer plummet 32 percent.
Garlic is best raw-you will get the most benefits by chew-
ing a few cloves a day-but few people can tolerate it
(and those who can, tend to live alone). Fortunately,
garlic retains some medicinal benefits when lightly cook-
ed. Roast the bulbs and squeeze the contents on crackers
as a spread. As for garlic supplements, the quality can
Recent tests of 14 supplements by consumerlab.-
com found that strength varied 1,500 percent between
the best and worst products. The key ingredient is a
chemical called allicin, but the levels testers found in the lab did not always match the levels listed on the labels.
A word of caution: Garlic may reduce blood clots, but it
can also increase risk of bruising (bleeding beneath the
skin) and hemorrhaging during surgery. Stop taking garlic
two weeks before any operation.
Read more about it:
The herbal Drugstore by Linda B. White, MD and
Steven Foster (Rodale, 2000)