Eating garlic every day protects the heart

Taking garlic daily reduces total cholesterol and triglycerides, although it should not replace medical treatment, but rather be a supplement to the diet.

“Garlic, onion and lemon and stop injection.” That popular wisdom has used as a remedy for many ailments. Science corroborates what intuition and empirical knowledge have confirmed for centuries: garlic is good for coronary health, but in no case should it replace medical treatment. 

A recent meta-analysis concludes that regular garlic consumption improves the lipid profile of total cholesterol and triglycerides, resulting in additional protection for heart and artery health.
The prevention of cardiovascular diseases through the modification of its main risk factors (such as the control of blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels) is a life-long strategy. Regular consumption of garlic has been shown to be effective in the complementary treatment of dyslipidemia, but its impact on cholesterol levels (diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia with total cholesterol greater than 200 mg / dl) has been inconsistent in some trials and, therefore, debatable.

Garlic powder and garlic extract are effective in lowering total cholesterol

The latest and most recent meta-analysis conducted by the Shandong University of China Institute of Toxicology concludes, after reviewing 26 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, that regular consumption of garlic has a modest effect in reducing levels of total and triglyceride cholesterol, but not in other lipid parameters such as low-density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL cholesterol). According to this study, the effects of garlic were more marked in subjects with long-term intervention, greater than four weeks of treatment.

Those responsible for the investigation observed differences according to the different presentations. Garlic powder and garlic extract were more effective in reducing serum total cholesterol levels, while garlic oil had more impact in lowering serum triglyceride levels.

These conclusions are not as forceful in other previous systematic reviews, such as the one carried out in 2009 by the University of Malaya School of Medicine, in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and years earlier, in 1994, by the Department of Public Health and Care. Oxford University Primary and, in 1993, by the Department of Medicine at New York Medical College. In these cases, they agree that garlic therapy does not substantially reduce serum cholesterol levels, although there is an improvement in the lipid profile. Some authors suggest that with the consumption of one clove of garlic per day, or an equivalent amount in preparation, a reduction of between 10% and 12% in total cholesterol rates is achieved, compared to placebo.

Therefore, although taking garlic daily has a positive response in the lipid profile, in no case should it replace the treatment prescribed by the doctor to control dyslipidemia and it will be used, always under medical approval, as a dietary supplement.

Additional info: The essential foods

Garlic, olive oil, flax oil, blue fish, legumes and walnuts are essential in a therapeutic diet for dyslipidemia

In light of the scientific evidence, dyslipidemias improve if a therapeutic diet is followed. The diet is understood as such which, in the nutritional balance criteria, includes foods whose habitual consumption has shown benefit for the coronary system and dispenses with others that hinder the improvement. The following foods are considered essential in a heart-healthy diet:

Garlic: One clove of garlic a day is beneficial (except in cases of gastritis or other stomach ailments) and appears to provide an added improvement for cholesterol and triglyceride control.

Extra virgin olive oil: rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E and phytosterols, all of them cardioprotective compounds.

Flax oil: one tablespoon daily as an omega 3 supplement.

Walnuts, one serving (4-6 units): Contain omega 3 and phytosterols, both compounds are recognized for their role in lowering cholesterol.

Blue fish: 3-4 times a week, in portions of 140 grams. It provides omega 3 fatty acids.

Varied legumes, including peas.

Green vegetables (chard, chicory, lettuce, spinach …), sprouts or sprouts and stem vegetables (leek, celery, thistle).

Hopefully this information is useful for you. Thank you for reading!

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