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Why Garlic’s Good for the Heart

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Chewing them can give you bad breath but garlic, an essential ingredient in Indian curry, can actually be a boon for your health.

Scientists have now found why garlic can help keep the heart healthy. According to a team from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, garlic boosts the body’s ability to produce a compound called allicin, that relaxes blood vessels, increases blood flow and prevents blood clots and oxidative damage.

Scientists say that allicin, which is broken down into the foul-smelling sulphur compounds which taint breath, reacts with red blood cells and produces hydrogen sulphide which relaxes blood vessels and keeps blood flowing easily.

To reach this conclusion, scientists injected crushed garlic juice in blood vessels of rats. This produced striking results — with tension within the vessels reducing by 72%.

The researchers also found that RBCs exposed to minute amounts of garlic juice immediately began emitting hydrogen sulphide. Further experiments showed that the chemical reaction took place mainly on the surface of the blood cells, playing a vital role in helping cells to communicate with each other.

It stimulated the cells that form the lining of the vessels to relax, causing the vessels to dilate. This, in turn, reduced blood pressure, allowing the blood to carry more oxygen to essential organs, and reducing pressure on the heart.

Lead researcher Dr David Kraus said, “Our results suggest garlic in the diet is a very good thing. Certainly, in areas where garlic consumption is high, such as the Mediterranean and the Far East, there is a low incidence of cardiovascular disease. It is, however, important to know that large amounts in supplement form may interact with blood thinning drugs and could increase the risk of bleeding.”

Egyptians worshipped garlic and placed clay models of garlic bulbs in the tomb of Tutankhamen. Garlic was so highly-prized it was even used as currency.

Source: The Times Of India

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