GARLIC GETS TO THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH

When it comes to good health, garlic is the herb that gets to the heart of the matter. More and more studies are shedding light on just how garlic protects the human heart. Here are five of the ways researchers believe garlic may work its wonders on one of your most vital organs:
REDUCES BLOOD CHOLESTEROL.

Researchers at New York's Medical College recently reviewed five of the most scientifically sound studies on garlic and cholesterol. They found that consuming as little as half a garlic clove a day reduces cholesterol levels an average of 9 percent.
LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE.

Scientists speculate that garlic lowers blood pressure by relaxing and opening up blood vessels. Using garlic as a salt substitute can also help lower blood pressure.
MAKES BLOOD LESS LIKELY TO CLOT.

Garlic makes blood less sticky, so you are less likely to develop a blood clot when one of your blood vessels is injured. A blood clot that completely blocks off a blood vessel in your heart can lead to a heart attack.
INCREASES CLOT-DISSOLVING ACTIVITY OF THE BLOOD.

This helps break down any clots that develop. Clots may develop even if you eat garlic, but the herb will help to break them down.
PREVENTS "BAD" LDL CHOLESTEROL FROM BEING OXIDIZED.

Oxidized cholesterol damages arteries.

Like many healthful foods, the benefits of eating garlic seem to add up over time. Include one to two cloves of garlic in your diet on a daily basis. Fresh garlic is probably the safest way to go.

If you're bothered by garlic's strong odor, garlic supplements may mask the odor somewhat. Dr. Varro E. Tyler, former Professor of Pharmacog-nosy in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmacal Sciences at Purdue University, recommended garlic supplement tablets with an enteric coating. This coating protects the garlic, preventing it from dissolving until it reaches the intestines. These supplements tend to be more odor-free and effective than other types.

The many different brands of garlic supplements available vary widely in effectiveness. Kwai is one brand that has produced positive results in several clinical trials. If you are on any anti-clotting medicines, such as aspirin or warfarin, you should talk to your doctor before adding garlic to your diet. Garlic may intensify the effects of these drugs.

Too much garlic can cause side effects, including heartburn, gas, wheezing, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea and skin rashes. If you notice any of these, reduce your garlic intake.

Regular exercise and a low-fat diet are the best ways to keep your heart healthy, but the benefits of garlic can spice up a healthy lifestyle even more.

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