The benefits of garlic for heart health are now well-known and scientifically proven. Originally cultivated in Asia, this ancient perennial is now grown all over the world.
Garlic has been used in culinary and medicinal applications for several thousand years. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Egyptian healers both documented its value in treating illness. During both World Wars, garlic was used as a preventative to gangrene because of its natural antiseptic qualities.
Your Heart Loves Garlic!
There are few superfoods as well studied as garlic by the scientific and medical communities. While it is almost universally praised in cancer prevention, boosting immune system function, and the fight against parasites, your heart is the organ that benefits most (and quickly) by adding garlic to your eating plan. Here are my three favorite “pro-heart” reasons to love garlic!
1. Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries): This is a condition where the artery walls become toughened by a buildup of excess cholesterol, calcium particles, and fats. The compounds that accumulate are known as plaque and this is the number one reason for heart attacks and strokes.
This buildup makes it harder and harder for your heart to pump blood because the passageway is so narrow. The artery can become completely blocked, cutting off all blood flow. This results in a lack of oxygen-rich blood. Your heart is not the only place that has arteries. They’re also found in your brain, kidneys, limbs, and pelvis.
Artery health is critical to the health of your entire body. Garlic has been shown in many studies to naturally prevent the buildup of plaque on arterial walls and help to remove the plaque that’s already formed.
Garlic has been shown to naturally prevent the buildup of plaque on arterial walls. #HeartHealthClick To Tweet
2. High LDL Cholesterol (the “bad” kind): This is another major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Despite the “low-fat” revolution that began in the 80s, cholesterol problems have grown substantially. All cholesterol is not bad for you (every cell in your body needs it).
However, it’s now been proven in current science that specific foods that contain unhealthy fats (trans fats and hydrogenated oils) can tip the balance in your body to dangerous levels of low-density lipid cholesterol (LDL).
Exercise, healthy lifestyle habits, and diet are crucial to keeping your cholesterol levels in balance. By simply adding garlic to your meals, some studies have found that LDL cholesterol is measurably lowered by at least 10% without affecting your HDL “good” cholesterol. Making other important lifestyle changes can build on this clear garlic benefit for the heart.
3. Hypertension (high blood pressure): This is when the force of blood flow against the walls of your arteries is too high. This causes the walls to become stretched beyond what it can handle. You may experience no symptoms of high blood pressure prior to a heart event. More than 80 million American adults have been diagnosed with hypertension but experts agree that the number of actual cases is much higher because many don’t know they have it.
If your blood pressure is higher than 140/90, you are considered to have high blood pressure. The first number is your systolic reading that determines how hard your blood is pushing against your arterial walls during contractions of your heart. The second number is the diastolic reading that determines that force while your heart is at rest.
In several human trials, including the benefits of garlic for heart health have lowered overall blood pressure readings by as much as 8% without medications. In fact, one trial found garlic as effective as the high blood pressure drug Atenolol in lowering systolic and diastolic numbers.
There are many other reasons to include this incredible food in your meals. It is naturally anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-parasitic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-cancer, and pro-metabolism.
Garlic is a nutrient-dense food, meaning it offers powerful antioxidant nutrition with very few calories. All in all, you can’t go wrong with the power of the “stinking rose.”
If you want a delicious way to incorporate the heart health benefits of garlic while making guests happy, try this traditional Greek dish that’s a favorite at my get-togethers.
Skordalia (Greek Garlic Dip)
- 2 medium potatoes
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup water (use the water from your potatoes)
- Salt to taste
- Wash potatoes thoroughly and peel. Place in boiling water (whole) and lower heat. Cook for approximately 30 minutes. They should be very tender (enough that a fork cuts through them easily).
- Drain but keep 1/4 cup of the water the potatoes cooked in.
- In food processor, add hot water, garlic cloves, red wine vinegar, and season with salt to taste. Blend until the garlic is fully broken down. If you don’t have a food processor, mash potatoes with a fork and use a whisk to blend.
- Add hot potatoes and blend to combine.
- Pour olive oil a small amount at a time while blending until all mixture is smooth and all oil is incorporated.
- Can be served warm or chilled.
My favorite way to serve is chilled with toasted pita chips (cut in triangles) but it’s also fantastic with a veggie platter or even as a chip dip. I use the leftover dip as a spread on sandwiches and once you try it, you might never go back to mayonnaise again!
The dip may smell a little strong but I promise the flavor is going to be worth it. I actually add 10 garlic cloves to mine just because I love it so much.
Healthy garlic is great for your heart (no matter how you add it to your diet). So get some on your next shopping trip and start experimenting with adding to your favorite recipes!Garlic is a great nutrient-dense food for your heart. #HeartHealthClick To Tweet
Your heart will thank you!
For more information about the incredible (natural) solutions you can use to keep your heart pumping strong for decades to come, read “The Heart Spark” right now.
You’re going to love the way you feel when you incorporate a few of these scientifically proven methods in your daily life!
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