Raw Garlic and Heart Health

The latest scientific research indicates that raw garlic that has been freshly chopped or crushed is much better for overall hearth health then garlic that has been cooked or dried. Scientists at the University of Connecticut Cardiovascular Research Center report that they have found that the best heart healthy effects of garlic do not come from its many antioxidants, but rather from the hydrogen sulfide that is releases after garlic has been cut or crushed.

Garlic that has been freshly cut or chopped offers an effective alternative means to boost heart health. The hydrogen sulfide that is released during this process can help relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. When garlic is either processed or cooked, it loses its ability to release hydrogen sulfide, and therefore becomes much less potent for our overall heart health.

Garlic: the future of Alternative Medicine?

According to the authors of this story the results from the research are important because of the growing demand among heart patients for natural and complementary medicine.  The latest statistics show that nearly one third of all American Adults use some form of alternative medicine. According to the scientists who conducted this study, “the results strongly suggest that using fresh garlic would provide maximal and added benefits to the cardiovascular patients.”

The Research

This latest study into the potential benefits garlic was done on two groups lab rats. One group was fed freshly cut garlic for thirty days and the other group was fed processed garlic. The researchers then induced heart attacks in each groups of rats and then studied how wee the rats and their heart recovered.

The head researcher Dipak K. Das explains, “both crushed and processed garlic reduced damage from lack of oxygen, but the fresh garlic group had a significantly greater effect on restoring good blood flow in the aorta and increased pressure in the left ventricle of the heart.” This means that the rats who were fed the fresh garlic had much less damage done to their heart than the group that was fed the processed garlic.

The Conclusion

This is the first study of its type to compare two different forms of garlic and what effect it has on heart health. The findings that raw garlic and the presence of hydrogen sulfide  greatly increases heart health  challenges the previous notion that garlic is primarily good for you because of its many antioxidants. This hydrogen sulfide is released by a chemical reaction that occurs when fresh garlic is crushed, chopped or chewed. Its presence is greatly diminished when garlic is otherwise cooked or processed.
Adding fresh garlic to your diet can help keep you cholesterol in check and help cut the risk of a first or repeat heart attack.

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