Consuming fresh, raw garlic has long been touted an ideal way to lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure and heart disease risk. But wait – a new study reveals that sprouting garlic, in particular, has even more antioxidants beneficial to your heart health.
In a study funded by Korea’s Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology and published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers discovered that garlic grown for at least five days showed higher antioxidant activity than its fresher counterparts.
When seedlings grow into green plants, they create new compounds that safeguard the plant against pathogens. In the same way, bright green shoots – rich with antioxidants – sprout from older garlic bulbs, researchers in Korea suggest.
At its heart, an antioxidant is a molecule in the body that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. This process is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, which can then cause other chain reactions in your system. When this occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or even death to the cell itself. But antioxidants do away with all this damage by being oxidized themselves.
In a multitude of ways, antioxidant-containing garlic benefits both the respiratory and circulatory systems. Firstly, it can alleviate coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as artery hardening. How does it work? These benefits are a result of what’s called hydrogen sulfide gas, produced when red blood cells extract the sulphuric compounds from garlic. The gas then helps to expand our blood vessels, which in turn helps to keep your blood pressure regular.
Although the best way to enjoy garlic’s health benefits is to simply eat it raw – or as close to raw as you can possibly get – you can also add garlic to a dish, crushing or mincing it beforehand. That gives the enzymes in the food a chance to work effectively. Also, try putting garlic directly in food in order to change the temperature or pH of the garlic. Just remember that if you toss it in the pot straightaway, you may not receive all of the heart health benefits associated with garlic. Try adding it at the very end of the cooking process instead.
In addition to eating, you could try steeping chopped garlic in hot water or a tea. Then add a bit of natural honey to lesson the intense taste of garlic while soothing your throat at the same time.
So the next time you hold your nose about this stinky vegetable, just remember that it will benefit your overall heart health.